Skip to main content

Full text of "At the sign of the beaver : northland stories and stanzas"

See other formats



S FTHEBEAVEK 






\ STUDIA IN 



Presented to 
THE LIBRARY 

of 
VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 

Toronto 

by 
Elizabeth A. and John M. Kerr 



AT THE SIGN OF THE 
BEAVER 

Northland Stories and Stanzas 



BY 
SAMUEL MATHEWSON BAYLIS 

Author of "Camp and Lamp," etc. 



TORONTO 

WILLIAM BRIGGS 

1907 



PR 



i3- 






doprt 



Entered according to Act of 
the Parliament of Canada 
in the year one thousand 
nine hundred and seven, by 
SAMUEL M ATHEWSON BAVLIS, 
at the Department of Agri- 
culture. 






IN THAT 

HIGH DAWN-SALUTING FANE 

SHRINING A CANADIAN LITERATURE, 

BY THE CRAFTSMAN SKILL 

OF MANY BUILDERS 

NOW RISING RESPLENDENT, 

A JOURNEYMAN OF THAT OLDEN GUILD, 

LOVINGLY FASHIONING, 

ASPIRES TO SET IN PLACE 

ONE SMALL BLOCK. 



CONTENTS. 



STORIES PAGE 

A Notarial Protest 9 

When the Dawn Breaks and the Shadows Flee . . 23 
Because She hath Loved Much . . 36 

A Pythagorean Interlude ...... 47 

The Fall of a Sparrow 68 

The Way of a Man with a Maid ..... 79 

The Censuring of Montgomery Burns .... 98 

The Princess and the Prisoner. (A Fable) . . .112 
As the Sparks Fly Upward . . . . . .116 

After Many Days 143 

BALLADS 

Saved for England 167 

In the Name of the King 172 

The Honor of the Company . . . . . .177 

SONNETS 

Metempsychosis . .187 

Misappreciation . .188 

Knight-Errantry . . 189 

Dethronement 190 

Interrogation 191 

The Iconoclast 1 192 



vi CONTENTS 

SONNETS Continued. PAGE 

Anticipation 193 

Plagiary 194 

Retribution 195 

" Shake- Speare" 2 196 

Renunciation 3 . . . . . . . .197 

" Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories and 

Tragedies" 198 

VERSES 

The Minstrel 201 

A Song of Empire 4 204 

Jean Baptiste Cogitates Thus 206 

The Imperial Trading Company 209 

Rosemary . . . 212 

Hearts Valiant 5 213 

Pierre Denis 6 215 

Love 7 216 

Keats and a Calendar 217 

Greeting 218 

The Winged Wheel 8 .219 

NOTES (i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) . . . 223 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER. 



A Notarial Protest. 

THE little village of Notre Dame des Neiges drowsed 
amid the rolling pastures and yellowing fields which gem 
the uplands sloping to the shores of Lac Tremblante, 
and the spruce-fringed, bald crown of age-old Trembling 
Mountain towered above the circling hills which kept 
eternal, silent watch round about. 

The village seedling had dropped and taken root in a 
convenient hollow, scooped as if by a giant hand out of 
the jumble of ragged foot-hills, where the wandering, 
grass-ribbed Colonization road widened sufficiently to 
permit of the limited growth to which it had attained, 
and with which, in this region of stunted vegetation, it 
would seem as if it must, and resignedly would, rest 
drowsily content. The wings of all-pervading peace 
brooded over the valley nesting under their shadow, and 
the outward and visible sign of extended benediction 
shone abroad in the twin spires of the imposing fane 
which piety had reared to worthily shrine the Prince of 
Peace. If riotous plenty were less in evidence and little 
mouths very much so, were not the clamorous wants of 
pampered luxury unknown, and the tithes assured, and 
a sufficiency left? and for the future the children and 
le bon Dieu would surely provide. 

The men and grown boys of the scattered farms were 
struggling in the sun's hot beat for a toe-grip on their 
up-tilted lands and attacking the standing crop with tire- 
less scythe, while the women and girls forked and carted 



10 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

to secure it from some quick-descending shower, but the 
village was undisguisedly asleep. Not a team disturbed 
the ankle-deep sand of the only street, and the sleeping 
dogs had not even this excuse to rouse and give tongue 
to their customary objecting bark. The hotel customers 
were elsewhere, the bar empty of patrons, and the lone 
"proprietor," in a shady corner of the verandah, was 
sleeping vociferously. The storekeeper had given up all 
town-acquired pretence of wide-awake expectancy of 
some infrequent customer, and had lapsed into the sound- 
asleep condition of his nodding neighbor on the opposite 
corner. Even the Bureau de Paste unappreciatingly 
flaunted its blue and white enamel enticement in the face 
of the unheeding general somnolency that now luxu- 
riated en deshabille behind the closed jalousies which 
fended the glare and permitted enjoyment of cool and 
undisturbed siesta within. 

The diminutive door of the modest quarters where His 
Majesty's Mail was received and distributed in homoeo- 
pathic proportions among his subjects in this far corner 
of his Dominion bore, in addition to the official sign, 
another of much more imposing appearance, pathetically 
suggestive of other surroundings and better days, and 
on its polished brass flared the legend : 

HONORS SERAPHIN LAROCHELLE, 
NOTAIRE PUBLIQUE. 

How the owner of this spreading name and sign 
should here find remunerative exercise of his calling was 
always a matter of some concern to his few neighbors, 
and at times to himself. It was gently debated with his 
worthy helpmeet in those confidential moments seized 
upon by well-ordered couples when they have retired to 
cover of the matrimonial blanket, and some pressing 
urgency seemed even now impelling to wakeful discus- 



A NOTARIAL PROTEST u 

sion, while their little world about them drowsed and 
slept the hot hours away. 

The little room into which the front door opened was 
divided in two by a counter topped with a series of 
pigeon-holes where the mail was alphabetically placed. 
The letter chute under the wicket in the centre gave 
directly on to the worn desk where the postmaster exer- 
cised his daily avocation and, at rare intervals, practised 
his almost forgotten profession, the entire " minutes " 
of which were easily packed into the small, old-fash- 
ioned safe standing in the corner. 

A quaint little old-world figure, in out-of-date rusty 
black, sat erect in the official chair, disdaining the sup- 
porting back and with a hand resting lightly on either 
arm. A sparse fringe of grey hair fell away from the 
shining crown and flowed over the antique neckcloth and 
semi-clerical coat-collar. Two beady black eyes twinkled 
with the alertness of a squirrel's through the glasses of 
a pair of horn-framed spectacles exactly placed on the 
bridge of a well-moulded nose. The wrinkled cheek and 
chin were clean shaven, and the thin lips closed firmly, 
giving to the mouth an air of methodical precision which 
long, close following of documental wordings had inten- 
sified and deepened. 

At the moment the eyes behind the glasses beamed 
with mingled gallantry, devotion and concern in the 
direction of the other figure seated in the high-backed 
rocking-chair, which swayed rhythmically to the accom- 
paniment of the clicking needles the taper fingers were 
deftly manipulating in fashioning the sock destined for 
one of the slippered feet planted on the floor opposite. 

It were small wonder if the eyes of the little notary 
should rest with loving approval on the stately form in 
the rocking-chair. From the dainty little foot tapping 
the floor as each oscillation brought it within reach, 



12 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

up the sober grey dress and plain bodice finished 
with its muslin fichu, over the high-bred, regular 
features, and delicately tinted satin cheek, taking 
passing toll of the wells in the deeps of the vivacious 
eyes, still retaining their youthful vigor unimpaired, 
and on to the luxuriant, silvery hair brushed back 
from the forehead a la Pompadour, the glance swept, 
and took in the ensemble wanting only proper frame to 
complete some Eighteenth Century portrait of a forgotten 
ancestor of the old regime, then wandered off into space 
as a faint sigh escaped from beneath the folds of the 
neckcloth and the dingy black vest. 

" And wherefore so, cherif Dost sigh for thy with- 
ered hot-house blooms in the city, or some yet undiscov- 
ered wood-blossom ? Look thee, now, I am scarce passe, 
and not ill-favored." 

" Nay, "Toinnette, jest not thus. Thou knowest I have 
place for none but thee." 

" Then why distress thee ? Supper is provided, and 
the winter is far off." 

" Ah ! but I cannot thus lightly regard. Thou hast 
esprit and canst forget. But me, I think, and fear for 
thee, when I am gone and the little pittance ceases." 

" But do I complain ? Tell me, now, all thy black 
thought, that I may kiss the cloud away!" 

" Thou knowest how the clientele fell away. How 
they wearied of me and would no more of my cultivated 
art in engrossing a deed, but would employ a new- 
comer with typewriter and curt phrase. How the chil- 
dren died, or went where money grew more plentiful. 
How friends moved the Government to pity my need 
and give me this little Paste, with its meagre revenue. 
How thy savings were all put into this little house and 
modest furnishings. How rarely the client comes to the 
desk. How, if le bon Dieu should call me first, thou " 



A NOTARIAL PROTEST 13 

" Nay, then, thy trouble is the other way. Look thee ! 
should / be called, who would care for thee, and remind 
thee that with a good wife and nothing else thou art 
rich? But when she dowers thee with a fine house all 
needfully furnished, and keeps it neat for thee, and mends 
thy own and her small store of clothes so that none need 
be purchased, and all of the two hundred dollars thou 
art able to earn in the year may be reserved for food and 
winter fire and a roll of tabac for thy pipe, then, indeed, 
thou art passing rich beyond all further want, and an 
ingrate, and and thy "Toinnette loves thee and would 
cheer thee and will kiss the black devils away ! There ! 
How likest thou the taste?" 

" Ah ! 'Toinnette, 'Toinnette, thou art the same but for 
the years and the silver in thy hair, as when I took thee 
from thy home in the Place Viger long ago, and what I 
should have done, and would do, without thee, le bon 
Dieu only knows. But even thou canst not deny that 
the Lenten fare comes often out of season. And one 
may be permitted to dream of the taste of a glass of 
wine, the odor of a cigar, and the smell of a feast-day 
cooking. If we could but gather another fifty dollars 
in the year, and had even one hundred dollars in hand 
against the time of sickness, I could almost join thee in 
thy cheerful survey." 

" Courage, mon ami! Reassure thyself ! If thou hast 
not wealth, there is yet enough, and thy ship may one 
day come in. Now, grace a Dieu, none demands his 
unpaid debt, and honorable poverty is no disgrace." 

" True, 'Toinnette, mine honor none may take away. 
And, as thou sayest, I have thee. For the rest, it shall 
be as God wills." 

The pious expression of resignation came unreservedly 
from the bottom of the honest old heart, and the sus- 



14 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

picion of an accompanying sigh was but evidence of the 
fallibility of the flesh, and it passed unmarked into the 
silence which gently fell upon the two old lovers, while 
the tinkling needles took up their interrupted task. 

Their reveries were sharply broken in upon by a 
fusilade of barks running down the street like a feu-de- 
joie round the lines of troops on the Champ de Mars on 
a review day. A spanking team came whirling through 
the sand of the road, the driver's whip snapping a fire- 
cracker accompaniment to the ranged-up challengers 
sentinelling each doorstep, and brought up with a final 
spurt and flourish before the door bearing the double 
sign of the Bureau de Poste and the Notaire Publique. 

The two occupants of the buckboard, modishly dressed 
in summer neglige, sprang lightly to the ground, and with 
swift, half-contemptuous glance at the mean surround- 
ings, passed with brusque and business-like air through 
the outer door into the ante-room where the little notary 
stood in bowing expectancy before such unaccustomed 
imperious activity. 

" Ah ! Good day ! Mr. Notary Larochelle, I believe ! 
My name's Snatchet. My partner, Skinner. Came out 
from town and drove the five miles from the station just 
to talk a little business with you. Want to catch the 
evening train back. If you've got half an hour to spare 
now we may as well get to work, eh ?" 

The usual suavely deliberate manner of the little notary 
gave way in wonderment before such impetuosity, and 
the touch of irony in the inquiry passed unnoticed in his 
bewilderment. He was literally swept off his feet into 
the arms of the official chair in the inner sanctum., which 
he had vacated in advancing to greet a possible client, 
and as the sense of dignity and authority came again 
with the contact, he slowly scanned the card handed to 
him, and peering through the big glasses he read: 






A NOTARIAL PROTEST 15 

SNATCHET & SKINNER, 

MINING BROKERS AND FINANCIAL AGENTS, 
23 AND 25 METROPOLITAN TRUST BUILDING. 

Laying the card carefully on the corner of the big 
desk, he saw through the half-closed door of the living- 
room, to which his wife had retreated, the loved form 
and still busy fingers, and took heart for the forthcoming 
interview seemingly big with portent. Turning with 
courteous affability to his new clients, he smilingly 
inquired : 

" And to what am I indebted for the pleasure of this 
visit? What can I do for you, gentlemen?" 

" Oh ! small matter. Important, though. Money in 
it, too. But you smoke, I see! Try one of these. 
Hiram's best. You know what that means." 

As the long-forgotten flavor appealed to his dormant, 
cultured taste, and the aromatic clouds floated up to his 
nostrils and wreathed his grey head, old memories 
seemed to be transforming themselves into prospective 
hopes, and dreams taking shape in realizations, and he 
permitted himself unwonted ease of attitude in leaning 
back in his chair, and with elbows resting and finger- 
tips meeting he again addressed the clients sitting 
opposite. 

" Proceed, Mr. ah ' with a glance at the card 
" Snatchet. I am all attention." 

"Well, to cut it short, here's a deed. Recognize it?" 

Leaning forward and taking the paper, the notary 
adjusted his glasses, scanned the endorsement, glanced 
rapidly through the folios to the signatures, and 
answered : 

"Assuredly. 'Tis an example of my own poor skill 
in such things." 

"It's French, but I think I've got the gist of it. 
Please give the exact drift never mind the frills." 



1 6 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" Well, gentlemen, shorn of those unappreciated 
adornments of phraseology which raise the instrument 
of mere commercialism into the realm of art, the bare 
import of this paper is plain. It is a duly certified copy 
of a deed bearing number three thousand six hundred 
and forty-five, remaining of record in my office. It sets 
up that on such a day appeared before me, Larochelle, 
Notary, one Francois Xavier Letourneau, Farmer, of 
the first part, who sold to Jean Baptiste Galibert, Agent, 
of the second part, Lots nine and eleven, Lost River 
Range, Parish of 1'Epiphany, Township of Roberval, 
County of Laurentia, Province of Quebec, with house 
and farm buildings thereon erected, for the consideration 
of one thousand dollars paid in cash at the passing of 
the deed, which is signed by the parties making their 
marks, and me, the said notary. I remember the matter 
perfectly, too, as the date is but recent." 

" And all those pages covered by so little matter ! Sad 
waste of good paper, Mr. Notary. This Promise of Sale, 
now a single sheet, you see. Kindly compare it with 
the deed." 

"M-m-m Yes! Same property. Promising vendor, 
Galibert. Agreeing purchasers, yourselves, my esteemed 
new acquaintances. Consideration, two thousand dol- 
lars ah, nice little profit accruing to Monsieur Galibert. 
But what is this? Lots seven, nine and eleven. But 
number seven is not conveyed by the deed, gentlemen." 

"Just so! It's that little discrepancy we want ad- 
justed." 

" But how? Why come to me? at the moment, that 
is to say. When you shall have acquired Lot number 
seven from the owner I shall be proud to act for you in 
my notarial capacity." 

" Can't be done, sir ! Letourneau was the last of his 
family. He was killed on the railway coming to the 



A NOTARIAL PROTEST \>j 

city, where he intended to end his days after selling his 
farm. You're aware that Lot seven was part of his 
homestead, and Galibert evidently believed he had pur- 
chased it, seeing he included it in his promise of sale to 
us." 

" A very unfortunate situation, gentlemen, but the 
facts are clear. I need not tell you that a deed takes no 
cognizance of unexpressed understandings. Moreover, 
once signed, it is unalterable." 

" Excuse me. There we differ." 

" Sir ! Would you instruct me in my profession ?" 

" Not at all ! Not at all ! Merely throw out a hint." 

" Then I must beg you will fully explain your mean- 
ing, which I confess I do not quite comprehend." 

" All right, then. We'll be perfectly frank. We're 
business men, Skinner and I, and we've talked the thing 
over. We want this lot for a purpose of our own and 
we can't get hold of it in the regular way, or we shouldn't 
have come to you. You can fix it with a turn of your 
wrist, and we offer you a hundred dollars for your little 
trouble." 

" Make it two" put in Skinner, who had been watch- 
ing the uncertain expression of the notary's face as his 
voluble partner talked. 

" Really, gentlemen, this grows interesting. Pray 
proceed. Two hundred dollars, you said. 'Tis indeed 
a large sum. And for this you wish ?" 

" Merely a marginal note of a single word in your 
original minute in French, four letters, s-e-p-t fifty 
dollars a letter, and the proper initialing thrown in." 

" Ah ! I see a bribe 

" My dear sir! Skinner will tell you we business men 
have no such word." 

" To commit forgery 

" Tut, tut, Mr. Notary ! Please drop these harsh 
2 



1 8 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

technicalities and let's talk business. We only ask you 
to amend a professional oversight, and offer to pay you 
well for it." 

" But do you not make a mistake?" 

" Think so ? Well, perhaps we do. Excuse us while 
Skinner and I have a word together." 

The little notary sat pale and silent in the official chair 
gazing intently over his meeting finger-tips and seeing 
nothing, while the two stood apart and hurriedly con- 
ferred in eager whisperings. Coming forward and break- 
ing into the notary's reverie, Snatchet abruptly resumed : 

" Well, Mr. Notary, Skinner seems disposed to agree 
with you, and I'm ready to back him up. We recognize 
the little irregularity, but you'll admit the thing is easily 
done. The deed is signed by parties making their marks. 
No copy has yet been registered. A marginal note in 
your original minute, duly initialled, with a fresh certi- 
fied copy, and there you are ! For this slight service we 
now offer you one thousand dollars !" 

" Ah-h-h ! A fortune, truly ! This land must surely 
be very valuable. And this is your last word?" 

" Really, Mr. Notary, you've quite a gift for business. 
No idea you'd be so exacting, though. Come along. 
Skinner, let's revise our figures and see what we can do." 

The conversation in the corner was a trifle more pro- 
longed, and the whisperings a little more eager, but 
neither of the partners saw that the eyes behind the 
spectacles had taken an upward look, the thin lips were 
relaxed in whisperings of their own, and that palms as 
well as finger-tips were met in close touch ; and none of 
all the three were aware of the brooding form and saintly 
face crowned with its silver aureole which watched with 
tender eyes of love and benediction the outcome of a new 
Temptation in the Wilderness from its niche in the ad- 
joining doorway. 






A NOTARIAL PROTEST 19 

The watching form disappeared from the vantage- 
point of the doorway. The professional air came back 
to the figure in the official chair. A half-smile of faint 
expectancy greeted the negotiators as they again sat 
facing the notary, and Snatchet continued : 

" It may be a bluff, Mr. Notary, but you seem to hold 
the cards. It's a call to see us, anyway, and we show 
our hand. It's like this. Valuable plumbago deposits, 
extensive and rich, have been discovered on this block of 
land, but unfortunately are confined to Lot number seven, 
to which we lack clear title. A company is ready to 
form and capitalize at half a million dollars. Arrange- 
ments are pending with the railway to build a branch 
line, so that transport is cheaply assured. The stuff is 
rare, valuable, and in large demand. The tonnage in 
sight is enormous, the deposits can be easily worked, and 
the profits will be 'way out o' sight. As promoters, 
Skinner and I are awarded a hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars of stock, and we expect dividends of at least 
twenty per cent. We now propose to divide equally 
with you. Fifty thousand dollars will yield you ten 
thousand dollars a year and we give you this for a pen- 
ful of ink ! Besides, there will be much notarial work 
arising out of the large operations of our company, and 
other business to which the connection may lead. This 
should bring you as much more. Twenty thousand a 
year! Not a bad increase to present income, eh, Mr. 
Notary? There's our 'last word.' What do you say?" 

As he finished Snatchet leaned back in his chair to 
watch the effect of his astounding proposal as its full 
force was revealed in the moist pallor of brow and 
twitching lip. Skinner sat in interested expectancy and 
the rhythmic tick of the office clock alone smote the tense 
silence with insistent regularity. 

The shabby arm-chair became an inquisitorial rack as 



20 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

the occupant put himself severely to the question. Torn 
with conflicting emotions, he tried to swiftly reason it 
out in the brief moment which courtesy allowed him to 
form his answer. Here was wealth beyond his wildest 
dreams, and a share in the enterprises of men of affairs 
for him, and a position worthy of herself in society, 
which his wife would assume only to adorn. And so 
easily gained, too! This shrewd business man was 
assuredly right. His plan was simple and, once adopted, 
unquestionably fixed. Discovery was impossible there 
were no heirs to raise even a doubt. Question of title 
was effectually barred by the plan suggested. If it were 
not adopted, all this wealth would lie undeveloped, as 
there was none to whom it belonged. Why not agree? 
What stands in the way ? Nothing ; absolutely nothing, 
except Ah! diable, there is an exception to thy plea! 
Ay, two, professional honor and a good conscience! 
Think, mon ami, thy days on earth are few, and the years 
of Heaven long ! Wilt ease the one and peril the other ? 
Depart thee, Sathanas! Away, and tempt me not! 

Slowly the little notary rose to his feet, passed without 
a glance the two eager faces watching his every move 
and waiting his word, crossed the short space to the half- 
open door, and called gently : 

" Antoinnette !" 

" I am here, love." 

As he took her hand and deferentially led his wife a 
half-pace into the office, the partners rose to their feet 
in startled amaze. Still holding the hand of his wife, 
the notary bowed across the dividing floor-space, and 
quietly said: 

" Permit me, my dear ! Mr. Snatchet, Mr. Skinner. 
Gen Gentlemen. Madame la Baronne de Jubinville, who 
bmors me in being my wife." 

The studied politeness of the men's salute scarce hid 



A NOTARIAL PROTEST 2 I 

their embarrassed unease. With cultured dignity en- 
hancing native grace, the lady courteously bowed, and 
turned inquiringly to her husband. 

" These commercial gentlemen, my dear, have made 
me certain proposals " 

" Spare thyself, my love, I have heard ' 

"And thou !" 

" Approve all I know my husband will say." 

" Ah ! My angel ! And 'twas for thee I feared and 
hesitated ! Then, my dear, before we invite these gen- 
tlemen to withdraw from beneath our humble roof, let 
me tell them nay, let us say, what is our thought 
respecting the nefarious proposition they have so mis- 
takenly advanced. We may forgive them, too, for they 
do not know, and perhaps cannot understand, the feeling 
with which we regard the honorable tradition of our 
houses. I think I speak for thee when I say that we 
cherish our honor as a religion; that it has come down 
to us with our blood, pure and unsullied ; and in our 
poverty it is the one thing we have not parted with, and 
will keep to the end. These ephemeral muck-gatherers 
of the market have no understanding of the sentiments 
attaching to a profession dating back for centuries, when 
our scriveners were the trusted servants alike of Church 
and State, and the recorders of their most carefully 
guarded secrets. They do not know how inextricably 
our calling is bound up with the Constitution re-estab- 
lished on the basis of ancient law and custom. In im- 
peaching the immutable inviolability of a Deed, they 
attack the foundations of society, and impinge on the 
sacred rights of property which it is the sworn duty of 
the members of our ancient Guild to safeguard between 
man and man. They may engage our services for a 
trifling fee, but they cannot suborn our signature, nor 
bribe us to do an illegal, unprofessional, or dishonorable 



22 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

act with all the gold in their bolted coffers. And this 
these financiers would do, and their price is large, and 
I speak for thee, my dear? Yes? Then we reject 
their proffered fortune, and spurn their bribe with scorn ! 
I fear that I may have, perhaps, imperfectly expressed 
our sentiments, but I think I have made our meaning 
clear, and there is nothing more to add, I believe, and 
and we need not detain these people any longer, need 
we, my dear? No? I thought not. They understand 
fully, now, and will not prolong their visit." 

The volubility of Snatchet and the alertness of Skinner 
quite failed them. They took up their hats, and silently 
bowed themselves out; and, as they climbed into their 
waiting buckboard and were whirled off to catch their 
train for the distant city, they caught a farewell glimpse 
of the lonely old couple framed picture-wise in the inner 
doorway, she with two shapely arms flung round her 
husband s neck, to which she clung, gazing with yearning 
love and wifely devotion into his eyes, while he, with one 
supporting arm about her waist, was stroking back the 
silver hair from her brow with the free hand, and kiss- 
ing away the tears which welled from a full heart. And 
with minds illumined, they knew the tears were not those 
of regret. 

And Lot number seven remains yet no-man's-land, 
because no owner is found to give a title ; and the shiny 
black streaks of the plumbago glitter amid the quartz of 
the bluff throwing its shadow into the waters of the Lake 
of the Trembling Mountain ; and the story has spread 
about the countryside ; and the peasant folk speak with 
awe of the mine of wealth which none may claim ; and 
the inquiring stranger asking the name of the peculiarly 
marked hill is told that it is known hereabout as Le 
Protet de M'sieu' le Notaire. 



WHEN THE DAWN BREAKS 23 



When the Dawn Breaks and the Shadows Flee. 

" There lives more faith in honest doubt, 
Believe^me, than in half the creeds." 

NUMBER 21 Avenue Sainte Jeanne d'Arc has nothing 
characteristic about its architecture which distinguishes 
it from its neighbors, numbers 19 and 23, on either side, 
or, indeed, from any of the other houses in the block of 
ten, numbered from 13 to 31, which adorns the locality. 
In the opinion of its proud and fortunate owner who is 
also its architect and working-builder the block is a 
triumph of art and an achievement of finance, making 
possible the possession in miniature of castellated luxury 
for the modest rent of fifteen dollars a month. It has 
plate-glass panes in its oak-grained hall doors, and its 
fronts are solid limestone, topped with galvanized iron 
cornice fashioned with embrasured openings along the 
whole terrace and finished off at either end, and in the 
centre, with an extra foot or two of turret all painted to 
match the color of the stone ! What matter, then, if the 
houses squat close to the ground of which each covers 
but fifteen feet of frontage and about twenty-five in 
depth, and aspires to a towering of but a short storey 
and a half are they not all " self-contained " in every 
sense of the word, and have they not the undoubted right 
to flaunt their superiority in the faces of the mere brick 
and wood-embellished tenements which occupy the corre- 
sponding lot across the way, and command but twelve 
dollars monthly? 

The Avenue is one of the tentacles of the civic octopus 
which is slowly stretching its whelming arms over the 
surrounding country, gathering field and farm into its 



24 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

devouring maw, and is a tribute to the enterprising fore- 
sight, commercial shrewdness and municipal " pull " of 
the man who began life as a day laborer and is now the 
owner of this private mint which coins money for him 
while he sleeps. And why not? May not the man who 
has the courage to risk the capital which he borrows at 
usurious rates to put into farm lots, contract drains, 
scamped paving, and jerry-buildings, and the finesse to 
get it all accepted by City Fathers as a taxable civic 
asset, enjoy the fruits of his labor, and perhaps be 
awarded a meed of praise? 

His choice of a name for his new street may be given 
passing notice, seeing that it smacks of the architectural 
originality which walls the pavements. Civic traditional 
leanings towards saintly street nomenclature may not be 
disregarded even by radical contracting builders, but one 
must be up-to-date, and besides the calendar is almost 
exhausted. Rumors of the proposed canonization of The 
Maid were then only faintly whispered, but waggish 
friends translated these as assured fact, and the sign went 
up on the street corners, to the grief of the faithful and 
the amusement of scoffers, and it stands there now, and 
so reads on the cadastral plans in the archives of the City 
Hall. 

It was shortly after these " desirable homes " were 
finished and the street graded that Harvey FitzGerald, 
late reporter on the Daily Transcript, in the enjoyment 
of a salary of fifty dollars a month, was sauntering with 
his girl-wife in those outlying parts looking for the real- 
ization of that long-deferred dream of a cosy suburban 
home now within the compass of the seventy-five-dollar- 
a-month stipend attached to the post of city editor to 
which he had just been promoted. The whimsical ele- 
ment in name and structures appealed to his sense of 
humor, and he declared that here, if anywhere, might one 



WHEN THE DAWN BREAKS 2$ 

dwell in the assurance that his house was his castle, and 
that merit should soon or late have due recognition. 
Number 21 was the last house untenanted, and to his 
eager suggestion that it be rented forthwith his wife gave 
uncertain assent, and the thing was done. 

The years passed quiet hours in the little home, busy 
nights in the editorial office amid the stir and din asso- 
ciated with the daily appearance of the great morning 
paper and though promotion and increased emoluments 
came in swift course, till the managing editor's chair was 
reached, here they still remained, despite the young wife's 
tentative suggestions to branch out in keeping with 
improved fortunes. 

The able editor was a tower of strength to his party, 
and in the business world a leavening force working for 
the betterment of high commerce. His impersonal lead- 
ing articles were easily distinguishable by their scholastic 
flavor and trenchant diction, and an occasional unsigned 
poem of rare imaginative quality, or prose article of 
marked literary merit, appearing at all too infrequent 
intervals in his own columns or the pages of contem- 
porary magazines, piqued unsatisfied desire for further 
word from a new, thinly-veiled contributor to a growing 
national literature. An undertone of cultured cynicism 
pervaded much of his work dealing with the customs, 
foibles, even beliefs or what passed as such of society, 
never blatant, always refined ; but the " unco' guid," to 
whom the ink seemed specially to cling, denounced it as 
all the more dangerous. These self-constituted censors 
lost no oportunity to retaliate by endeavoring to attach 
the stigma of agnosticism, even infidelity, to the writer's 
productions, while his friends vainly urged him to pub- 
lish at length in self-vindication. 

Outwardly unmoved, visibly aging, he buckled to the 
day's stint with grim doggedness, sharply dividing the 



26 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

office night duties from his library studies and work, but 
stealing long afternoon hours for the pursuit of these 
recreative labors from time which should have been given 
to sleep or spent in the open air. This double life at 
high pressure was paid for at heavy cost, and the inevit- 
able collapse was sudden and the course swift. All sug- 
gestions to call in a physician were met with ill-concealed 
impatience, and would-be counsellors were referred to 
Montaigne for opinions at large upon the craft. 

" Doctors !" he broke out one day to his life-long 
friend the Rev. Gavin Mackelcan, " What can any of 
them do? Tell me I'm dying, perhaps, and that I know. 
As well call in the priest ! Let be, then, and let me die in 
peace." 

Number 21 now became a centre of peculiar interest 
to the few old friends whose assiduity in ministration 
was constant. Late associates dropped in with word of 
cheer and still-enjoyed gossip of the work-a-day life 
swiftly slipping from ken. The situation was frankly 
acknowledged and the parting clearly in sight, but the 
inevitable was accepted and the issue faced. 

" Don't grieve, lads, my job's done and I'm being paid 
off, that's all," he would say, adding once, " If you write 
me up, and can honestly think it, quote Kipling's words : 
' He did his work, and held his peace, and had no fear to 
die.' If a man deserves that he wants no better epitaph." 

His devoted wife sought to interpose the nurse's 
authority in limiting the number of visitors, till, finding 
this futile, she gave way entirely to his wish to see and 
talk with all comers. She was scarcely prepared, how- 
ever, for the request he one day made to be assisted into 
his library, and expostulated : 

" Harvey, dear, you'll kill yourself !" 

" Well ! ' How can man die better ?' " he banteringly 
quoted, but, seeing the shocked look, kindly added : 



WHEN THE DA WN BREAKS 27 

" Never mind, dear ; do as I say this time ; I won't 
trouble you much longer." 

He was with difficulty assisted to the adjoining room, 
and as he sank back among the cushions and was covered 
up with the rugs of the library couch the little wife, see- 
ing his exhaustion, and reproaching herself with having 
been the means of realizing her worst fears, fell upon 
her knees beside the couch, clasped his hand and buried 
her face in the pillows to shut out what she feared to 
look upon. 

Will, however, asserted its supremacy over vitality, 
and as his eyes opened to the surroundings, and fell upon 
the pillowed head, he gently placed the disengaged hand 
upon the silken locks, and, letting his glance wander lov- 
ingly over the rows of familiar covers and titles which 
seemed to nod back kindly greeting, gave wordless ex- 
pression to his emotion in a sigh of utter content. 

What pathos, and yet what incongruity! The half- 
recumbent, worn body, scarce able to bear the weight of 
the splendid head, still magnificent in contour and car- 
riage, and instinct with intellect and spirituality illumin- 
ing the wasted features ; the face, framed in dark, flow- 
ing hair and silky beard, both prematurely touched with 
grey, and startlingly suggestive of the typical Christ of 
Art ; the thin, delicate hands, unmistakably indicating the 
artistic temperament in form and texture, all betoken- 
ing a refined nature almost totally devoid of animality, 
and telling of a lofty spirit parting from its containing 
environment before the set time. Of the earth, assuredly, 
the kneeling figure clasping the thin hand, yet comely 
enough in its bloom of early womanhood. Rather below 
the average stature, of compact form and rounded limbs, 
with golden-crowned head well set on full throat and 
bust, the flush of youthful health scarcely dimmed by the 
nursing pallor, it would, but for a certain proprietary 



28 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

air half wifely, half that of motherhood brooding over 
a helpless charge suggest the relationship of daughter, 
not wife. But, if assurance were wanting, it were only 
needful to catch the unmistakable light in the eyes of 
fecund maternity denied children and lavishing its wealth 
of love on an adored husband, which glorified otherwise 
commonplace features, as the wife looked longingly into 
the husband's face and waited for him to speak. 

" Ah ! my books, my friends ! Glorious old Mon- 
taigne, how well you expressed the delight in their mere 
companionship, and how well I know it!" 

" And me, Harvey, dear ! Don't you love me better ?" 

"What, jealous! Mayn't I stray a little now?" 

" Oh, no no no ! Now, more than ever, I want you 
all to myself !" 

" What a greedy little person it is !" 

" Don't, Harvey, it hurts. I ask for love and you give 
me a jest!" 

" Well, well, forgive me, dear. We men do flounder 
about clumsily sometimes. But why not take things for 
granted? There's no other woman in the case." 

"Ah, that's just it! If it was a woman I'd but a 
book !" 

" True, quite foolish to wreak vengeance on that. 
Some of them are rare and valuable, too. But don't you 
think I love you, little wife?" 

" Ye-s, I I think you do, dear." 

" Aren't you sure?" 

" Oh, my husband, my own dear love, tell me you do ! 
It's foolish even to question it, but I do so want to be 
sure !" 

"After all these years? Oh, wine!" 

" Ah, sweetheart, forgive me ! I'm a wicked woman, 
let me confess it, and let there be nothing between us 
now. I've meant to be vour own true wife and tried to 



WHEN THE DAWN BREAKS 29 

show it. Show it ! The trouble has been not to show it 
when I thought you didn't care. And you did care all 
the time, and I was jealous, and forgot that a man 
doesn't love as a woman does. He has other things, and 
love's a woman's all!" 

" So my poet friend up there says " 

" I'm not learned in poet-lore, dear, but I know a 
woman's heart, and it's life and love that feed and fill it, 
not poetic philosophy. But let me go on. I couldn't 
' take things for granted.' I wanted to be told. I got 
to hate your work that gave us bread, because I couldn't 
share your counsels. I resented the leisure you gave to 
writing, because I couldn't help you with it. I grudged 
the money wasted in books when it might have better 
been spent in improved home comforts and little luxuries 
of travel and dress. I felt lonely. I thought you cold 
and indifferent. I couldn't understand why you should 
wear yourself out in scribbling to no purpose, when 
money could be got for stories and poems from the maga- 
zines if you only made them acceptable " 

"Ah-h-h! A pander! A broker! I sell my own 
brain children in the market for toys !" 

" I would steal a look at your manuscripts sometimes, 
and even I could see beauty and value in them. I became 
possessed with the evil thought to destroy them all, that 
none should profit by them if I could not. I think I must 
have been mad at times. Some demon seemed to be 
impelling me to attack anything which would rob me of 
you. Yet you were always my husband, my ideal, my 
lover who was being stolen from me. never, I feared, to 
be regained." 

" Poor little woman ! Was our marriage all a mistake, 
then mating, not wedding?" 

" No no no ! Don't say that don't think it. Har- 
vey dear ! I'm to blame for encouraging a too sensitive 



30 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

craving for sympathy. I own to wanting it, and it's 
sweet to have it now." 

"And now it's too late! I, too, but no matter. 
You'll think of me kindly I hope proudly, yet and time 
may bring amend. Is that some one coming? Sounds 
like Gavin. Kiss me, dear, and show him in." 

She rose to her feet, gently smoothed back the flow- 
ing hair from the pale brow, took the wasted face 
between her hands, looked lovingly into the eloquent eyes, 
pressed a long and tender kiss upon the thin lips, and 
with a parting glance of all-possessing, all-surrendering 
love, left him to usher in his old friend, Gavin Mackelcan, 
pastor of Melancthon Church. 

Notwithstanding marked differences of temperament 
and environment, the friendship between the Reverend 
Gavin and Harvey FitzGerald was of long date, and con- 
tinued close, to the surprise of many. The one of 
sturdy physique, overflowing with vitality and bearing on 
shaven cheek the glow of health caught in recreative 
out-of-door hours, clothed in the latest mode of conven- 
tional clerical attire, and carrying himself with the air 
of quiet assurance born of the admiration, authority and 
generous stipend enthusiastically awarded their hand- 
some bachelor pastor by an influential congregation of 
unimpeached respectability ; the other of Bohemian asso- 
ciations, radical tendencies and a general air of artistic 
neglige, intensified by the student pallor and hirsute des- 
habille, no wonder folk turned to look as occasionally 
they were seen strolling arm-in-arm in absorbed talk 
on the city's busiest thoroughfare. The contrast was 
more strongly marked now as Gavin walked over to the 
couch and took the worn hand of his friend. 

"Well, old boy, better to-day, eh?" 

" Better ! Don't be a fool, Gavin. Better to-morrow, 
perhaps ; who knows ? Sit down. I want to talk. 







WHEN THE DAWN BREAKS 31 

essie shut the door thanks! Bessie and I, it seems, 
have been playing at cross purposes she thinks she has 
things straightened out God forbid she be undeceived. 
I see it now. I did wrong to marry her or any other. 
Bohemia and domesticity are non-contracting parties. I 
was honestly mistaken, though, when I wedded my little 
sweetheart. I was more than content, and looked at 
heaven through her eyes. Usual thing, of course, but I 
didn't allow for the reaction. This came with my first 
promotion, and I dived into work to find forgetfulness. 
I tried to conceal my unresponsiveness to her caresses. 
They only wearied me, and I took refuge in my library, 
studying or writing. A wiser woman would have held 
aloof and waited, but my little Bessie only reproached 
herself and lavished her kisses the more. I sometimes 
sighed for past wild days and old irregular connections, 
but happily never sought them again. She wanted 
endearments ; I craved companionship, and that congeni- 
ality in tastes and aspirations which alone consecrate 
marriage and ensure enduring love. We had nothing in 
common. I felt myself drifting and hoped she didn't 
see. I cursed unheeding fate which planned the ill- 
assorted match and labored to make amend. I revelled 
in my growing collection of books yet was careful in 
my purchase of editions and bindings to secure full and 
lasting value. I wrote ceaselessly, seeking to give 
expression to surging thought, and striving always to 
pitch the highest note but I was a severe critic and 
polished with care. I gloated over my books and manu- 
scripts as a miser fingers his gold, refusing to part with 
any yet thinking always how, by and by, these should 
make up to Bessie in a measure for present lack. I held 
to great Verulam's teaching, that a man's fame should 
follow rather than go with him yet yearned to taste 



32 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

it with living lips. Ah, me! Nature makes sad mis- 
fits, sometimes if you and Bessie, now !" 

"What, I- why, she we !" 

" Of course, both of you. Why not? Stranger things 
have happened. Let it pass, though, and hear me out. I 
make you joint executor with Bessie. Everything is 
hers except fifty books which you will choose and take 
with my dear love. The rest you will sell, in one lot, if 
possible, with first offer to the Public Library. My 
manuscripts you will find arranged for publication as 
' Essays,' ' Poems ' and ' Stories.' They'll pass the 
critics and stand as literature, and by my work as a whole 
I wish to be judged. Manage rightly, and with my little 
insurance there's a sufficient modest income assured to 
Bessie and if she and you well, that's as it may be 
don't tell her, though. That's all, I think, except good- 
bye, old fellow!" 

" No, not all, Harvey," said Gavin, as he took the thin 
fingers tenderly in his strong right hand and gently 
stroked them with the other as a child might be com- 
forted. " You won't mind a word that is laid on me to 
say, will you?" 

" Surely not, Gavin. You know I always wagged a 
free tongue myself, and was the last to forbid another's 
speech. You look burdened with the weight of it, too. 
' Uncover, boy, uncover !' ' 

" It is, indeed, no light matter, and my soul is charged 
with the sin of long holding back. But I was weak. 
Harvey, I feared your displeasure and shrank from your 
jest. Your friendship was so much to me, I dared not 
risk the loss by an ill-timed word. But I was recreant 
in my Master's service. The charm of your intellect 
captured my will, and I forgot my duty as a shepherd of 
souls. Oh. Harvey, as I love you and hope for pardon, 
T beg you even now to accept the sin-atoning sacrifice 



WHEN THE DA WN BREAKS 



33 



once for all offered up to ransom a doomed world, by 
which alone the lost may find salvation in the Great Day. 
Do not, I implore, put from you beyond recall the redemp- 
tion purchased at such a price. Let not that sad ' too 
late!' be laid to my charge. Don't leave me without 
the blessed assurance that all is well with you, my 
friend !" 

The alert look which met Gavin's faltering request 
died out of the tired eyes as the earnest words fell from 
trembling lips. Sadly Gavin watched the brows knit, 
and the alternate flush and pallor spread on the loved, 
half- averted face. As the lips moved he bent to catch 
the longed-for answer, but when instead of words of 
Christian hope the muttered phrase of the old heathen, 
" Et tu, Brute !" fell upon his straining ear he staggered 
back as if smitten with a blow. 

Slowly the weary head turned on the pillows, and the 
gloom vanished before the returning glow flushing cheek 
and brow, chasing away the shadows hovering about the 
speaking eyes as they again flashed their old-time appeal 
up to those of the friend who stood in tense, regardful 
attitude. 

With the old winning smile of grave tolerance mingled 
with gentle raillery, Harvey waved his hand in the direc- 
tion of the vacated chair by the couch, and familiarly 
laying the hand on his friend's knee, gave him back his 
own words : 

" ' You won't mind a w^ord that is laid on me to say?' " 

" You've won again. Harvey. Speak your whole 
tlv night, if you will." 

" I can't say I'm disappointed in you, Gavin, for I long 
ago took you to my heart of hearts for better or worse, 
and I know you at best and worst better than you know 
yourself. I made all allowances for the mediaeval taint 
still clinging to the latter-day cleric and confusing in his 
3 



34 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

mind the functions of pastor and priest, for I know that 
the work of the iconoclastic Renaissants is still incom- 
plete. What trips me up is to find that, while my heart 
was not worn where any chatterer might pluck at, you, 
from whom I would hide nothing, should fail to read 
aright. I fancied you might have remembered that the 
scoff of Democritus veiled the winged thought of the 
philosopher. I hoped you understood that cynicism 
might perhaps be sobriety in masquerade, and a jest but 
the safety-valve to pent emotion. You ask me if all is 
well, and I reply that it's no engrossing concern of mine. 
When the soldier enlists he ignores consequences and 
waives responsibility. Though Life-enlistment is invol- 
untary, I followed the service rule. Questions of the 
living present, not the uncertain future, beat their insist- 
ent clamor. I had things to do, and I did them as best 
I knew ' painted the things as I saw them for the God 
of Things as they Are/ if I may reverently say it. I put 
aside the partial view that ' our little life is rounded by a 
sleep,' and rested in the ' larger hope ' that ' transplanted 
human worth will bloom to profit otherwhere,' hoping 
that I might be found not entirely unworthy, groping by 
the light I had, and trusting where I could not see. I 
utterly repudiated the horrible, blood-laden doctrine that 
any human soul is fore-ordained to eternal damnation by 
a Divine Creator unless, by assenting to a priest-made 
creed, misconstrued from ancient literatures and heathen 
rites, the guardian of this soul-tenant shall thereby secure 
for it eternal bliss, holding it essentially pagan and as 
false as its converse may be true, that this soul-guardian 
has it in its power to develop the intrusted germ of 
immortality into a plant of undying growth or by neglect 
to kill it beyond all chance of resurrection! There's an 
' Indeterminate Sentence ' for you. but when I hear folk 
talk about ' saving their precious souls ' when they mean 









WHEN THE DAWN BREAKS 35 

their ' precious skins,' I foolishly spend good breath. 
I've none to waste now, Gavin, and I want to leave you 
a last word. Fling away these so-called beliefs you've 
inherited and hold half-heartedly at best. Weigh all 
Dogma in the even balance of Reason. Follow Truth, 
not Authority. Preach the ethics of conduct and char- 
acter from the sayings of the Great Teacher, or the 
inspired writings of lesser ones. Don't mis-read Divine 
Command into mere literature. Define Free-Will as 
entire liberty to do and be for good or ill, and Election 
the putting of will into act. Draw from Life, not the 
Schools, and give out Experience, not Traditions. 
Teach that Salvation means Surrender, and believe that 
Altruism transcends Atonement. Think of Heaven as 
a state, and Hell a condition, made by, not prepared for, 
us. Let Prayer be the pledge of fealty, not a whine for 
the beggar's dole. Remember Ah-h-h ! what was 
that? Bessie! Gavin! the Call Lead kindly light 
-I follow the Gleam !" 



36 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



Because She Hath Loved Much. 

"Mais, c'est beau, magnifique, superbe!" softly whis- 
pered the Cure, as he closed his breviary and rested his 
glance on the soft blues of river and sky beneath and 
above, and the tender greens of the trees on He Ste. 
Helene, just across St. Mary's Current, in front. 

He did not intend these somewhat extravagant terms, 
however applicable, to qualify the sonorous Latin phrases 
which had slipped so glibly from his lips as he read, half- 
audibly, the daily Office, nor could the most indulgent 
critic apply them to the tawdry architectural renovations 
of the little chapel of Notre Dame de Bonsecours. which 
surrounded and towered above him in belfry and pinnacle 
and angel wing. Despite these affronts to his severe 
good taste, for which he was not at all responsible, the 
Cure loved to pass his spare moments perched up here 
in the little balcony shadowed by the outstretched, bless- 
ing hands of Our Lady, far above the clamor of the 
Marche Bonsecours, the rumble of passing train, the 
rattle of block and tackle, the snorting of the donkey- 
engines, and the shouts of the stevedores' gangs unload- 
ing the vessels moored to the wharves below. He loved, 
at times when visitors were not permitted, to retire in 
meditation, and for the reading of his set daily portion, 
to this elevated perch, far enough removed from the busy 
world, and yet reminded by the distance-softened mur- 
murs which floated up from the city that there his work 
lay and his cross must be suffered. 

That he bore a cross other than that which hung 
by his side amid the folds of his black soutane was plainly 
writ in heavy strokes on hollow cheeks and furrowed 



BECAUSE SHE HATH LOVED MUCH 37 

brow ; but that, nevertheless, it would be bravely endured 
was shown in the unafraid eyes that lit, and the resolute 
closed lips and firm chin that gave character to, his clean- 
shaven, ascetic face. 

" Ah, yes, beautiful, truly, and superb beyond com- 
pare, ' Canada, mon Pays, mes amours !' " cried the Cure, 
with intertwining fingers and clasped hands stretched in 
passionate gesture over the railing of the balcony. 

Follow his glance as it sweeps to the left down stream, 
stays for a moment on the silver gleam flashing from the 
spire of Longue Pointe Church across to the towers of 
Longueuil, lighting the intervening blue of the great 
river flowing on to the sea, and smiling in passing at the 1 
beam shot back from the distant spires of Vercheres, 
Varennes and Boucherville twinkling between. Back 
again up the South Shore, from Rougemont's peak to the 
crest of St. Hilaire in the middle distance, past the moun- 
tain tops that cut the horizon in the far south, over the 
forest of green that divides the waters of the Great River, 
the eye sweeps; then on by St. Lambert, under the 
girders of the Victoria Bridge, catching faint glint of 
the flash of Laprairie Church spire, and, essaying to pass 
the barrier of Nuns' Island, where the rapids tumble 
and foam, is there stayed where the first explorers fondly 
thought lay the gateway to the Lands of Spices and 
Dreams. 

"Oh, why am I thus bound?" broke again from the 
tense lips, while nervous fingers twitched impatiently at 
the tassels of the silken sash girding the folds of the 
black soutane. But as the wandering fingers touched 
the cold metal of the crucifix hanging from its silver 
chain, a changed expression, half shocked, half defiant, 
came over the Cure's pale face as he hurriedly crossed 
himself and muttered an apologetic " Ave." 

" A divine service, truly, and yet ill-fitted to one whose 



38 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

blood still leaps with the life of a man, and whose brain 
yet throbs with the quick thought that moves to swift 
action. Of a truth would I serve God with a devout 
soul, yet would I serve my country, too, and perhaps 
thus better serve the good God who made it so beautiful. 
But here I am, tight-gripped by the dead hand of an 
effete ecclesiasticism bought body and soul for a sou- 
tane, a crust of bread and a cot! Oh for a twentieth- 
century Renaissance and the spiritual uplifting of a noble 
race stupefied with the fumes of the swinging censer! 
Ah, me! one must not speak ill of dignitaries, nor is it 
meet that the servant quarrel with his salt ; yet would to 
'God I were free ! Nay, but even if I were, 'tis too late ; 
the cards are dealt, and my fate is cut! What avail to 
begin a new life weighted with the clinging years of a 
mistaken past ? Work on I must, in the old rut, bearing 
and cheering as best I may. Yet will I keep my dreams 
dreams of the long ago when the awesome mysteries 
of Trembling Mountain, and the gloom of the forests 
about the Great Lake, and the smell of the pines, and 
the loneliness of the little farm nestling among the Laur- 
entian Hills wrought the fibre of a child's imagination 
and bequeathed it to the man ! Ah ! and the wild moun- 
tain columbine of the red blooms that gripped my heart 
with its clinging tendrils ! ' La plus belle de Labelle ' she 
was to all the neighbors, in their quaint phrase ; but 
what to me, then, God and she alone know. Now she, 
too, is but a dream with the rest, a sin to be put away, 
as all thoughts of one another were sternly ordered to be 
banished when the convent girl and the seminary student 
went their separate ways by the decree of an ambitious 
peasant-farmer who would see his son a priest. Jesu! a 
priest ! an unsexed thing in the garb of a woman which 
serves alike to cloak a libertine or shroud a saint in the 
emasculated body of a man! Ah, well, clean hands and 



BECAUSE SHE HATH LOVED MUCH 



39 



a pure heart, thank God, I still may hope for through 
prayer and fasting; and the warm touch of a brother's 
hand is yet mine to share!" 

The Cure again hastily checked his erring thoughts 
with an apologetic " sign," and with an ill-suppressed 
sigh began pacing back and forth along the narrow 
space of the little balcony with bowed head, his finger 
marking the appointed place in the breviary, which he 
had taken up and now loosely held in hands clasped 
behind his back, lost in meditation. His wandering 
imagination was startled into sudden consideration of 
the immediate every day as a soft-toned, well-modulated 
voice broke in upon his reverie : 

' ' M'ssieu' ! Pardon, M'ssieu' le Cure I" and suddenly 
turning, he faced the round, smooth countenance and fat 
shoulders of his sacristan thrust half-way through the 
little door leading out on to the balcony. 

" Well, Antoine, what is it?" 

' Le Papillon ' se passe, m'ssieu', et elle voudrait se 
confesser!" and, with the assured manner of an old 
retainer confident that his words conveyed full explana- 
tion and left nothing more to be said, the round head 
followed the fat shoulders in their swift withdrawal 
into the belfry, and as the Cure quickly followed he mur- 
mured softly to himself : 

"'The Butterfly' dying! Well, we all come to it, 
butterflies and beavers alike," adding, as he caught up 
with Antoine in his leisurely descent : " But who is the 
lady who would confess, and why is she thus named?" 

" Ach ! the creature ! M'ssieu' le Cure does not know 
of such. The law permits, but when the doomed moth 
would seek ease from the hurt of the alluring candle 'tis 
for Holy Church to show its power and thrust it back 
to burn !" 

" Nay, nay, good Antoine, thou'rt of the long ago. 



40 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

To-day 'tis the Church's mission to save such triflers to 
the glory of God and Her own honor, and truly none do 
need it more." 

" But this, M'ssieu', this toy, this plaything for every 
drunken sailor that soils the pavement in passing our 
chapel to her unholy door, she is surely damned already ; 
and can she be plucked from the devil by the bribe of a 
drop of oil and a wafer?" 

" Peace, blasphemer ! Prepare to attend me with the 
elements, while I think on thy penance !" cried the Cure. 
But as he passed to the sacristy to enrobe himself, his 
questionings came again to trouble him : 

" He may be right, in a measure at least ; but aside 
from the mysterious power the Church assures us is 
wrapped in her holy ordinances, full well do I know the 
comfort the last rite brings to the passing soul and the 
faithful who remain, explain it away as one will. Duty 
and inclination suffice to commend to conscience that 
which faith may not fully approve, therefore I go. Lead 
on, Antoine," he continued, aloud, as the sacristan 
appeared, bell in hand. 

The sudden transition, as they stepped, bare-headed 
and surplice-clad, from the solemn stillness of the chapel 
into the bustle and chatter of the market-place was un- 
heeded by the priest, as with bowed head and downcast 
glance he passed along bearing the Host and preceded 
by the sacristan tinkling his warning, "a genoux!" 

The awesome manifestation of the visible passing of 
God to the conquest of death silenced all tongues. The 
heretic simply stared with a glance of indifference or 
contempt, but the faithful dropped at once to their knees, 
with hats off and muttered prayer, till the procession 
passed, when business was promptly resumed at the point 
where it was broken off. The tinkling bell and the sur- 
plices and the Holy Thing passed on to one of the neigh- 



BECAUSE SHE HATH LOVED MUCH 41 

boring streets leading to the wharves, once the abode of 
wealth and beauty, but now given up to the abandoned 
of both sexes, and unsafe for respectability of clothes 
or morals to wander in at night. Stopping before one of 
the largest houses, whose massive stone walls, high- 
pitched roof and still clinging iron shutters proclaimed 
it to the Cure's trained knowledge as the abode of 
nobility in the days of the old French regime, the sac- 
ristan, with a suppressed growl of defiance at the hood- 
lums who had dared to follow, and a deprecatory gesture 
to the priest, signified that this was the place. 

Nodding to his attendant to lead on, the priest fol- 
lowed his vanishing form through the heavy-columned 
doorway into the dark entrance hall and up the high- 
pitched, narrow stair to the landing above, where they 
came upon a group of the inmates whispering together 
with white, scared faces, and excitedly clutching each 
other's arms as now a piercing scream and again a wild 
laugh smote the awed silence through a closed door. 

' 'Tis she!" said one, answering the priest's stern look 
of inquiry, with white lips. 

" Drunk or crazy, perhaps both," growled Antoine, 
under his breath, adding sharply in a half-voice : " Bid 
the penitent prepare, that the Father be not needlessly 
detained in this unholy place !" 

With compressed lips and folded hands, the priest 
remained standing in tacit confirmation of his attendant's 
curt order, and while it was being carried out thought 
was again busy. What new revelation of the depths to 
which depravity can descend was to be poured into his 
weary ears? When should his tired brain unravel the 
tangle set up by the endless crossing of his reason and 
his creed? How should he with an honest conscience 
bring comfort to a dying sinner and assure absolution 



42 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

and heaven to such as this on a mere confession of sin 
in the last hour ? 

While questioning thus, amid the hushed silence that 
fell upon the little knot gathered in the dim landing as 
the sounds from the room ceased, the door was noise- 
lessly opened by the returning messenger. Waving aside 
the onlookers, the priest entered, closed the door, and 
stood alone within the room, sorrowfully gazing upon 
the fever-flushed, emaciated form lying so wearily on 
the great canopied bed, strangely out of place amid other- 
wise commonplace surroundings, and seemingly, like the 
house itself, a relic of better days. With swift glance, 
the sad eyes of the priest standing in the middle swept 
the space of the ample chamber, rested with a start of 
surprise upon the crucifix with its little font fastened 
to the wall facing the bed, and looked pityingly into those 
burning ones on the white pillows meeting his own. 
Suddenly the form sat erect, supported itself with one 
hand, and with outstretched, mocking finger of the other 
pointed full at the priest, broke into the wild laugh : 

" Ha, ha, ha, ha ! Ho, ho, ho ! Art come, my gay 
Cuckoo, to oust the poor little Magpie from her 
warm nest? Nay, say not so, 'tis big and soft and 
roomy enough for two, and thou'rt not the first ! 'Twas 
given me by the Owl that peers through his solemn spec- 
tacles in the Court House yonder. But he looked not 
so when he pressed its soft cushions, and his eyes were 
bright and his skin soft for all his spectacles and his 
heavy robe. But he liked it not when the gay King- 
fisher would gossip with the Magpie, for their chatter 
wearied him and he came no more ; and yet, look you, 
there be room for three! Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho! what 
fine feathers and frolics in those summer days ! But 
the Hawk swooped down, and the Kingfisher flew away, 
and the Magpie was unhappy and afraid, and the nest 



BECAUSE SHE HATH LOVED MUCH 



43 



was soiled by the passing of many. Yet some would 
bring a worm and others a bit of rag, and the nest was 
mended and the Magpie fed, and she chirped again 
among the feathered folk. And not all wore gay coats, 
but now and then a solemn Blackbird with gown as sleek 
as thine would come in the dusk ; for, see you, how the 
cushions are soft and ample, and the Black Coats love to 
take their ease ! The sly rogues, well I know them ! 
Ha, ha ! Ho- !" 

The priest stood silent and motionless during this out- 
burst, his calm eyes fixed on the blazing ones whose flash 
of defiance melted into the gleam of fear, and, as dead 
ashes slowly absorbing dying embers, the lids closed and 
the limp form fell back among the white pillows as the 
soft, pitying voice of the priest was heard for the first 
time: 

" My poor child, may God forgive you and receive the 
confession you desire to make !" 

The human touch of tone and words seemed to reach 
long-sealed fountains that broke in reason-bringing tears, 
which flowed unchecked by either till, with beckoning 
finger and in broken whisper, her desire was indicated : 

" Come nearer, Father, for I am very weak, and truly 
do I need the absolution thou hast to bestow !" 

The weakly imperious finger, and the low " Nearer, 
Father, nearer !" drew him on till he was standing close 
beside the bed, with head bent and ear inclined to catch 
the lightest sound ; when suddenly two white arms were 
flung up, clasped around the neck of the priest, his head 
drawn down to the quivering mouth, a passionate kiss 
pressed on his cheek, and a single word whispered into 
his startled ear : 

" Victor !" 

With a spring as if struck by a bullet, the priest 
wrenched himself clear and stood again in his place with 



44 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

left hand clutching at his heart, his right extended to 
ward off some unknown dread that threw its black 
shadow over his averted face, grey and drawn with emo- 
tion : and the heavy clutch of mingled horror, pity and 
fear gripped his lips apart and bared the white set teeth 
beneath. The form on the bed lay prone and still. 
Slowly the averted head of the man crept round ; the 
tense grip of emotion loosened ; the clutching fingers 
relaxed ; the lips weakly assumed their function as 
faintly came the awed whisper : 

" Mon Dieu, Marie, is't thou?" 

" Ay, Victor, I waited long for thee, but thou earnest 
not. And did I not know, as oft I watched thee on thy 
tower, that one day thou wouldst come at my call, I had 
died as surely as I am dying now. Let us forget ! for the 
time is short and the days just behind are weary, but the 
long ago is sweet and I would think on it now. Mon 
Dieu! Victor, why didst thou go away? Didst not know 
how I loved thee? Didst not see it in my eyes, my 
cheeks, my throbbing breast, and my hot fingers as they 
played with thy hair when we sat together where the 
waves of the Lake beat upon the Mountain, and we 
feared and shook at its trembling? Oh! how I loved 
thee ! I would have been slave, mistress, or wife to thee 
as thou wouldst. Hadst thou married me I would have 
been all these, and more. I would have been thy 
inspiration and stay in the plans thou didst make for the 
Man's career, and seen thy name blazoned ' Victor ' in 
the fight. I would have borne thee many children that 
should have been the joy of our youth and the stay of 
our old age, would have lived but for thee, or as gladly 
died, if 'twould better serve. But all this was naught to 
thee and a sin to mourn over, for thou wouldst be a 
priest, and wentest away with thy heart of ice and the 
body thou despisedst hidden under thy soutane. Then, 



BECAUSE SHE HATH LOVED MUCH 45 

lovers came, and thou wert gone with my love in keeping, 
and I was left with the pretty, empty shell. 'Tis naught 
to me, I said ; since Love is gone, of what use its vile 
tabernacle? nay, 'tis the lesson thou gavest me in 
despising the holy instincts of love but why go over the 
weary tale? Though lovers many wooed 'The Butter- 
fly ' and paid for the kisses they took, I gave them not. 
They were only for thee, and, as thou wouldst none of 
them, I gave them to thy little crucifix yonder. Thou 
rememberest giving it to me on parting, dost not? And 
see how it is worn with thy unsought kisses ! Take it ! 
and the kisses it has kept for thee so long; and if thou 
tellest them one by one with thy beads 'tis a long tale, 
for they are many, so many. Oh! Victor, my soul, my 
life, how I have loved thee, and how I love thee still ! 
Kiss me, kiss me only once ! 'Tis not much to slake the 
thirst of years, and I am dying, Victor, dying fast. One, 
only one, for the love of God and thy poor lost Marie !" 

Rigid, wide-eyed, with white, agonized face, clenched 
hands, and quick-coming breath, the priest stood, drink- 
ing in through set teeth the burning words that flew 
winged on Love's last gasping breath. As in one 
supreme effort two worn, white hands reached out to 
him in voiceless appeal, and he read in the burning eyes 
the old untranslatable story of woman's undying love, 
the pent-up fires of a passion he thought he had killed 
and buried pulsed and surged through his leaping veins. 
And the wanton years were obliterated, and the solemn 
vows were as resinous pine before the bush fire, and they 
were young again as when they first plighted their troth 
by the shores of the Lake of the Trembling Mountain. 
The white surplice bent over the white pillows : the 
shapely tonsured head was clasped to the sullied breast : 
and lips that had known no woman's met those that had 
been any man's to buy. The strong arms trembled, and 



46 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

the weak ones tightened their clasp. The burning eyes 
closed, and the unafraid ones saw them not; for they, 
too, had shut upon all but Love. And mingling breaths 
formed but two words, and one whispered, " Marie !" 
and the other, " Victor !" and all was still, for the white 
soul of the soiled dove had flown away on love's wings 
and its mate knew it not, being yet held in leash, albeit 
fain to follow. 

Slowly the errant spirit of the man came back to its 
shell, and as he woke to full consciousness and his eyes 
fell on the form growing cold and rigid in his warm 
embrace, he understood and knew the bitterness of utter 
loss crushed in the grasp of gain. 

" Oh, God !" he prayed, with a meaning his formal 
ritual never conveyed, " Thou ' Infinite and Eternal 
Energy from which all things proceed/ grant me of Thy 
fulness strength to act the Man, and hold sacred the 
memory of my lost love, and be of use in the world, till 
in Thine own good time our waiting souls shall be fused 
into one in Thy light!" 

Reverently composing the wasted form and adjusting 
the coverings, the man pressed a hot kiss upon the 
unanswering lips, and concealing the gift of the little 
crucifix under his surplice, the priest passed slowly out of 
the room and stood again, dignified and apparently un- 
moved, among the awe-stricken group on the outer land- 
ing, saying simply: 

" She made a good confession and has gone in peace. 
So may it be with us all ! See to her decent burial, and, 
should money be needed, apply to me. Benedicite! 
Come, Antoine, let us go 1" 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 47 



A Pythagorean Interlude. 

IT was a glorious spring morning, promising ideal 
weather for the annual outing which has been the subject 
of anticipatory day dreams and nightly visions, lo, these 
many winters. 

Supplies and baggage were safely aboard, angling 
and personal gear bestowed with many injunctions in the 
care of the porter, and I was employing the few minutes 
remaining before the train should start strolling up and 
down the platform of the Place Viger Station, smoking 
and idly planning details of the trip, when I was aroused 
by a cheery hail : 

" Morning, old chap, off at last, eh ?" and, turning, saw 
my old friend. Dr. Farnham, of the Attending Staff of 
the Asile de la Providence, hurrying along the platform, 
instrument bag in hand. 

"Wish ypu all good luck! Can't help envying you, 
too, but you see I've other fish to tackle. Hullo ! there's 
' Johnny Fish ' " 

The interruption was so sudden and the attitude of 
professional interest so intent that I was too startled to 
formulate the inquiries that suggested themselves, when 
my friend again broke in : 

" Old man, you are in luck !" 

This did not serve to clarify the situation in the least, 
and I pressed for explanations, exact and brief, as time 
was short. 

" ' Copy.' dear boy, ' copy ' ! One of our patients 
habitant from the back parishes public expense many 
years' residence simple rather than demented tractable 
and obedient, but hopelessly incurable. One of our 



48 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

' trusties/ and is allowed little liberties. Has curious 
habit of going off every spring presumably fishing 
although he owns no ouffit. Returns promptly within a 
week, having a dozen or so of the finest trout, which he 
ceremoniously presents to the Lady Superior, then falls 
into the routine of the Institution for another year. City 
anglers have vainly endeavored to trace him to his 
haunts, and learn his secret, which he cunningly guards 
under a veil of real or assumed forgetfulness. That's 
why I say you're in luck, with the chance of capturing 
some specially fine fish, and a good story, if you can 
gain his confidence. Don't forget me if you do train's 
moving good-bye !" 

Some two weeks later, we met in my rooms in response 
to an invitation to come round and share my spoils. My 
good landlady had exerted herself to prepare a dainty 
little supper, and my friend, the doctor, was good enough 
to pronounce the broiled trout the finest thing he had 
ever tasted. Coffee served, and cigars going nicely, 
there came from the depths of my easiest arm-chair the 
injunction: 

" Now, then, fire away ! I'm all attention. By the 
way, you can bring the story right up to date, as I left 
town the day after you did, and only returned yesterday. 
I haven't even been down to the Asylum yet, and it was 
merely a chance you caught me on the 'phone as you 
did." ' 

" Ah ! then you do not know say, Farnham, do you 
believe in reincarnation?" 

" Oh. come, Stanbridge, cut out metaphysics and get 
on with your story. It's getting late." 

" All right, then, let it pass. If you'll listen quietly 
I'll do the best I can to give you a ' plain, unvarnished 
tale.' 

" After we parted on the station platform, and I had 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 49 

gathered my belongings about my chair in the parlor 
car, and the train was fairly started, I thought I would 
lose no time in looking up the ' copy ' you so consider- 
ately provided, and I strolled forward to the second-class 
car, where I was most likely to find him, if he really 
got on board. Sure enough, there he was, huddled up 
in the corner of a seat, gazing abstractedly out of the 
window beef moccasins, homespuns, long hair, com- 
monplace features clean-shaven, but showing a few 
days' stubbly growth and save for the distraught air 
your few words led me to expect, a typical old habitant. 
I tried to engage him in conversation French and Eng- 
lish alike failed to arouse anything but a vacant stare. 
Offered him a cigar, but again failed to awaken any 
response. Played my trump card in taking the seat next 
to him, opening my fly-book, and toying with the many 
successful ' killers ' filling its leaves but your ' Johnny ' 
was as indifferent as a clam. I saw there was nothing 
to be got out of him, and gave up the attempt, returning 
to my car in no good humor at the downfall of hopes 
you had so confidently raised. I duly reached the end 
of the line, loaded up the outfit on the waiting team, and 
reached camp without sign or trace of * copy ' or ' story,' 
which I dismissed into the limbo of ' lost opportunities.' 

" I started out next morning, alone and afoot, to make 
my first attack on a stretch of ideal fishing river connect- 
ing our chain of lakes, which the Wabaso Club rightly 
values and jealously guards as one of the choicest bits 
of fishing territory in all the Laurentian district. As I 
strolled down the road bordering this treasured preserve 
I was astounded to see some clearly unauthorized pot- 
hunter coolly preparing to poach on this carefully pro- 
tected water, and hurried on to angrily warn him off. 
As I neared the intruder T was struck with something 
familiar in his appearance, yet surely no such fantastic 
4 



50 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

had I ever encountered among all the angling fraternity. 
Beginning with the low-cut, buckled shoes, up the coarse- 
ribbed woollen stockings meeting the bloomer-like vel- 
veteen knee-breeches, along the full-skirted, belted jacket 
of the same material, over which flowed a white linen 
collar, past the clean-shaven features framed in the roll- 
ing locks which fell almost to the shoulders, on to the 
wide-brimmed, high-crowned felt hat topping the whole 
curious ensemble, my glance swept in startled amaze. 
It was as if some Seventeenth Century portrait of a mid- 
dle-class gentleman had stepped from its frame, or a 
clever Twentieth Century actor had dressed for the part. 
And the rod shades of Forrest, Orvis and Chubb ! Was 
ever such a ' contraption ' swung over any water with the 
hope of catching a fish? A long, clumsy, heavy pole, 
painted grey, with some wheel contrivance at the butt to 
wind up the roughly-plaited line with which the poacher 
was whipping the water all unconscious of my approach, 
muffled by the turf and the murmur of the river. I had 
got within a few yards when tongue, hand and foot were 
instantly stayed as if struck with paralysis, while full 
recognition broke ' Johnny Fish ' in masquerade! Ig- 
noring club rights in favor of possible copyrights, I hailed 
the poacher: 

' Tiens, Johnny, c'ment fa vaf Faites tu de bonne 
pechef 

" At the word he turned, a winning smile, though not 
of recognition, spread over his face, which seemed 
twenty-five years younger than when I last saw it, as he 
replied : 

" ' You are well overtaken, fair sir, a good morning 
to you. I shall put on a boldness to ask you. sir. whether 
business or pleasure caused you to be so early up this 
fine, fresh May morning?' 

" I leave you to imagine the effect of this ' retort cour- 



A P YTHA GORE AN INTERL UDE 5 i 

teous ' upon my dazed intelligence ; nevertheless, my 
wrath being still hot, I sharply demanded: 

' What are you doing here ? Who are you, anyway ?' 
' I am, sir, a Brother of the Angle, and would you 
were also, for you are to note that we Anglers all love 
one another, for a companion that is cheerful and free 
from swearing and scurrilous discourse, as these are, is 
worth gold/ 

" ' Well, considering you are trespassing on private 
property, you seem to take it coolly, not to say making 
merry over it/ 

" ' I love such mirth as does not make men ashamed 
to look upon one another next morning; nor men that 
cannot well bear it, to repent the money they spend when 
they be warmed with drink. And take this for a rule, 
you may pick out such times and such companies, that 
you may make yourselves merrier for a little than a great 
deal of money, for " 'Tis the company and not the charge 
that makes the feast." And such a companion will you 
prove, I thank you for it. Good company and good dis- 
course are the very sinews of virtue/ 

" Recognizing that I was now clearly beyond sound- 
ings, and that the hoped-for ' story ' was within easy 
reach if I only gave the narrator time to tell it in his own 
way, I decided to abandon myself to Fate, wherever she 
might lead, and proceeded to draw him on : 

" ' You seem to be quite a philosopher, and pretty well 
content with yourself/ 

" ' You may have heard many grave, serious men pity 
Anglers. Let me tell yon, sir. there be many men which 
we contemn and pity. Men that are taken to be grave, 
because nature hath made them of a sour complexion, 
money-getting men. men that spend all their time, first 
in getting, and next in anxious care to keep it, men that 
are condemned to be rich and are alwavs busv or dis- 



52 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

contented : for these poor-rich men, we Anglers pity 
them perfectly. No, no, sir, we enjoy a contentedness 
above the reach of such dispositions.' 

' Yet you will allow that riches have their advan- 
tages ?' 

" ' Nay, let me tell you, there be many that have fifty 
times our estates that would give the greatest part of it 
to be healthful and cheerful like us. Let me tell you, sir, 
I have a rich neighbor that is always so busy that he 
has no leisure to laugh ; the whole business of his life 
is to get money, and more money, that he may still get 
more and more money ; he is still drudging on, and says 
that Solomon says, " the diligent hand maketh rich " ; 
and it is true indeed, but he considers not that it is not 
in the power of riches to make a man happy: for it 
has been wisely said by a man of great observation. 
" that there be as many miseries beyond riches as on 
this side of them." And the cares that are the keys that 
keep those riches hang so heavily at that rich man's 
girdle that they clog him with weary days and restless 
nights, even when others sleep quietly.' 

' What, then, shall one do ? Sell all one has and 
give to the poor?' 

" ' God deliver us from pinching poverty and grant 
that, having health and a competency, we may be content 
and thankful therefor, and above all for a quiet con- 
science. Let me tell you, sir, that Diogenes walked on 
a day, with his friend, to see a country-fair, where he 
saw ribbons, and looking-glasses, and nut-crackers, and 
fiddles, and hobby-horses, and many other gimcracks ; 
and having observed them, and all the other finnibrums 
that make a complete country-fair, he said to his friend : 
" Lord ! How many things there are in the world of 
which Diogenes has no need!" And truly it is so, or 
might be so, with many who toil and vex themselves to 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 53 

get what they have no need of. Can any man charge 
God that He hath not given him enough to make his 
life happy? No, doubtless, for nature is content with a 
little. And yet you shall hardly meet with a man that 
complains not of some want ; though he, indeed, wants 
nothing but his will it may be, nothing but his will of 
his poor neighbor, for not worshipping or not flattering 
him ; and thus when we might be happy and quiet, we 
create trouble to ourselves 

Here my recital was sharply interrupted as I saw my 
friend rise from the depths of his chair, stroll across the 
room to my book-shelves, reach down my favorite copy 
of " The Compleat Angler," turn over the leaves till he 
apparently found what he wanted, and in tones of severe 
reproof exclaim: 

" Ah ! I thought so. Are you aware, my friend, 
that you are quoting verbatim from this rare old classic? 
Such plagiary is rather too palpable!" 

" Pardon me, old boy, I'm exactly quoting ' Johnny 
Fish.' " 

" Oh, very well, tell your story in your own way, who- 
ever may be responsible for the phraseology." 

" I grant you it's rather puzzling. Of course, I recog- 
nized the Waltonian flavor, and, indeed, asked my 
strange companion if he had ever heard of such a per- 
son. He ignored my question and proceeded: 

" ' I knew a man that had wealth and riches, and sev- 
eral houses, all beautiful and ready furnished, and would 
often trouble himself and family to be moving from one 
house to another; and being asked by a friend why he 
removed so often from one house to another, replied : 
" It was to find content in some one of them." But his 
friend, knowing his temper, told him, " If he would find 
content in any of his houses he must leave himself 
behind him ; for content would never dwell but in a 



54 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

meek and quiet soul." And this may appear if you read 
and consider Holy Writ, which says : " Blessed be the 
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed be the 
pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed be the 
poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." 
And " Blessed be the meek, for they shall possess the 
earth." Not that the meek shall not also obtain mercy, 
and see God, and be comforted, and at last come into 
the Kingdom of Heaven, but that in the meantime he, 
and he only, possesses the earth as he goes toward that 
Kingdom of Heaven, by being humble and cheerful, and 
content with what his good God has allotted him. He 
has no turbulent, repining, vexatious thoughts that he 
deserves better; nor is he vexed when he sees others 
possessed of more honor or more riches than his wise 
God has allotted for his share, but he possesses what he 
has with a meek and contented quietness, such a quiet- 
ness as makes his very dreams pleasing both to God and 
himself.' 

" I could not but feel that this was wholesome and 
sound doctrine, of which the world stood much in need 
to-day. Indeed, I admitted as much to my moralist, 
who continued: 

" ' My honest sir, all this is told to incline you to 
thankfulness. And to incline you the more, and that 
our present happiness may appear to be the greater, and 
we to be the more thankful for it, I will beg you to con- 
sider with me, how many do, even at this very time, lie 
under the torment of the stone, the gout and the tooth- 
ache, and others that have met disasters of broken limbs ; 
and these we are free from. And every misery we miss 
is a new mercy, and therefor let us be thankful. What 
would a blind man give to see the pleasant rivers, and 
meadows, and flowers, and fountains, that we have met 
with? And this, and many other like blessings we 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 55 

enjoy daily. And for most of them, because they be so 
common, most men forget to pay their praises : but let 
not us ; because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to Him that 
made the sun and us, and still protects us and gives us 
flowers, and showers, and stomachs, and meat, and con- 
tent, and leisure to go a-fishing. But I shall put a period 
to my too long discourse ; in which my meaning was, 
and is, to plant that in your mind with which I labor to 
possess my own soul, that is, a meek and thankful heart. 
And to that end I have showed you, that riches without 
them do not make any man happy. But let me tell you 
that riches with them remove many fears and cares ; 
and therefore my advice is that you endeavor to be hon- 
estly rich or contentedly poor ; but be sure that your 
riches be justly got, or you spoil all. For it has been 
well said : " He that loses his conscience has nothing left 
that is worth keeping." Therefore be sure you look to 
that, and in the next place, look to your health; and if 
you have it praise God and value it next to a good con- 
science ; for health is the second blessing that we mortals 
are capable of, a blessing that money cannot buy, and 
therefore value it, and be thankful for it. As for money, 
which may be said to be the third blessing, neglect it 
not ; but note that there is no necessity of being rich : 
for I told you, there be as many miseries beyond riches 
as on this side them, and if you have a competence, 
enjoy it with a meek, cheerful, thankful heart.' 

" Remembering the conditions of the man's pitiful 
existence as you outlined them, and hearing such lofty 
sentiments couched in the elegant borrowed diction of 
a strange tongue, only increased my bewilderment. 
There is, however, a solution applicable to many an 
impasse, and I proffered the shibboleth never known to 
fail, in the Northland, at any rate : 

"' Pren' tu un p'tit coup?' 



56 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" Aly words fell on uncomprehending ears, but the 
sight of my pocket-flask was more awakening. 

' Nay, then, I have in my fish-bag a bottle of sack, 
milk, oranges and sugar, which, all put together, make 
a drink like nectar; indeed, too good for any but us 
Anglers.' 

" You know my critical taste in such matters, and my 
hesitation was natural ; but not being willing to appear 
ungracious, I drank! Whew! I taste it yet! Milk and 
sugar there surely were in nauseating proportions, but 
what else, I can't say. Anxious to obliterate the mem- 
ory, I suggested a return compliment in good ' Scotch,' 
with the time-honored toast : ' Wet our whistles ana sing 
away all sad thoughts,' and the response was hearty : 

" 4 Come, I thank you, and here is a hearty draught to 
you, and to all Brothers of the Angle wheresoever they 
be, and to all that love us and the honest Art of 
Angling.' 

" Here was a cue to have him take the stage again, 
and I asked why he so qualified a simple sport. 

" ' Oh, sir, doubt not but that Angling is an Art : is 
it not an Art to deceive a Trout with an artificial fly? 
A Trout ! that is more sharp-sighted than any hawk, and 
more watchful and timorous than your high-mettled mer- 
lin is bold. Doubt not, therefore, sir, but that Angling 
is an Art, and worth your learning: the question is 
rather whether you are capable of learning it?' 

" Now, considering that I rather fancy myself in this 
line, this was something of a facer ; but I merely ad- 
vanced quite modest pretensions and very large aspira- 
tions. 

' Have but a love to it, and I'll warrant you ; for 
Angling is somewhat like Poetry, men are to be born so ; 
I mean with inclinations to it, though both may be 
heightened by discourse and practice : but he that hopes 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 57 

to be an Angler must not only bring an inquiring, search- 
ing and observing wit, but he must bring a large mea- 
sure of hope and patience, and a love and propensity to 
the Art itself; but having once got and practised it, 
then doubt not but that Angling will prove to be so 
pleasant that it will prove to be like virtue, a reward to 
itself. And for those who practise it, let me tell you, 
sir, that of the twelve Apostles, the Blessed Master 
chose four that were simple fishermen, for He found that 
the hearts of such men by nature were fitted for con- 
templation and quietness ; men of mild, and sweet, and 
peaceable spirits, as most Anglers are ; these men our 
Blessed Saviour chose to call from their irreprovable 
employment of fishing, and gave them grace to be His 
Disciples, to follow Him and do wonders.' 

" Here I thought well to interject a repetition of my 
former question, and again asked him if he had ever 
heard of one Isaak Walton? 

" ' Nay, but certain of my friends, chemical men, Bro- 
thers of the Rosy Cross, and men in high place,* did 
know him well ; and one whom I loved as a son, my dear 
Charles Cotton, said of him that he understands as much 
of fish and fishing as any man living. Moreover, that he 
had the happiness to know his person and to be inti- 
mately acquainted with him ; and in him to know the 
worthiest man, and to enjoy the best and truest friend 
any man ever had, for, said he, " My father Walton will 
be twice in no man's company he does not like, and likes 
none but such as he believes to be very honest men." ! 

" Thinking to get some useful ' pointers,' I asked what 
these authorities laid down. If he had any theories and 
rules of his own relating to the practice of his ' Art ' ; 

*" Amongst his friends, Walton was able to name almost 
every man of his time whom wit or elegance had raised to 
reputation." 



58 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

specifically, what lures he would recommend, to which he 
replied : 

' Some have held there is a mysterious knack not 
attainable by common capacities, or else locked up in 
the breast or brain of some chemical man, that, like the 
Rosicrucians, will not yet reveal it. But in these things 
I have no great faith, yet grant it probable ; and have 
had it from Sir George Hastings and others an affirma- 
tion of them to be very advantageous ; but no more of 
them, especially not in this place. You are to know, that 
to fish fine and far off is the first and principal rule for 
Trout-Angling. Let your rod be light and very gentle, 
and you must be sure not to cumber yourself with too 
long a line, as most men do. And before you begin to 
angle, cast to have the wind on your back, and the sun, 
if it shines, to be before you, and to fish down the 
stream; and to carry the point of your rod downward, 
by which means the shadow of yourself, and your rod 
too, will be the least offensive to the fish; for the sight 
of any shade amazes the fish and spoils your sport. And 
let me again tell you, that you keep as far from the water 
as you can possibly; and when you fish with a fly, if it 
be possible, let no part of your line touch the water, but 
your fly only ; and be still moving your fly upon the 
water, or casting it into the water, you yourself being 
also always moving down the stream. And if you hit 
to make your fly right, and have the luck to hit also 
where there is store of Trouts, a dark day, and a right 
wind, you will catch such rich store of them as will 
encourage you to grow more and more in love with the 
Art.' 

" ' Is it so essential to have the wind " right " ? And 
what is " right " ? And how if it is not so ?' I asked. 

" ' For the wind, you are to take notice, that of the 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 59 

winds the South wind is said to be the best. One 
observes that 

" When the wind is South 
It blows the bait into a fish's mouth!" 

Next to that, the West wind is believed to be the best ; 
and having told you that the East wind is the worst, I 
need not tell you which wind is the best in the third 
degree ; and yet, as Solomon observes : " He that con- 
siders the wind shall never sow," so he that busies his 
head too much about them, if the weather be not made 
extreme cold by an East wind shall be superstitious ; 
for as it is observed by some that there is no good horse 
of a bad color, so I have observed that, if it be a cloudy 
day and not extreme cold, let the wind sit in what cor- 
ner it will, and do its worst, I heed it not. And yet 
take this for a rule, that I would willingly fish standing 
on a lee-shore ; and you are to take notice, that the fish 
lies or swims nearer the bottom, and in deeper water, 
on a cold day ; and then gets nearest the lee side of the 
water ; and on a hot day, but especially in the evening 
of a hot day, you will have sport. Moreover, you are 
to know, there is night as well as day fishing for trout, 
and that in the night the best trouts come out of their 
holes ' 

" ' Trout see at night !' I cried, ' then the poachers have 
good authority behind their nefarious practices !' 

" ' Yes, and hear and smell, too, both then and in 
the daytime. And that it may be true seems to be 
affirmed by my friend Sir Francis Bacon, in the Eighth 
Century of his Natural History, who there proves that 
waters may be the medium of sounds, and this reason 
of Sir Francis Bacon has made me crave pardon of 
him that I laughed at for affirming in his Experiment 
792 that he knew carps came to a certain place in a 



6o AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

pond, to be fed, at the ringing of a bell or the beating 
of a drum ; and, however, it shall be a rule for me to 
make as little noise as I can when I am fishing, until 
Sir Francis Bacon be confuted, which I give any man 
leave to do. All the further use that I shall make of 
this shall be to advise Anglers to be patient, and for- 
bear swearing, lest they be heard and catch no fish.' 

: ' Feeling that I had had about enough of theorizing, 
I suggested that he might give me an illustration of 
the application of principles to the practice of his ' Art.' 
He agreed with alacrity, and after fumbling in one of 
the many compartments of his antiquated game-bag, he 
produced a litter of the most extraordinary ' flies,' and 
selected one to replace that he had been using, and pro- 
ceeded to cast over a likely near-by pool. The deft 
way in which he manipulated that old spar, and lightly 
dropped on the desired spot of water the gaudy lure 
fluttering at the end of that hawser-like line, was a 
revelation in casting compelling admiration. The effect 
was no less astonishing, for in less time than I am taking 
to tell of it he had struck and landed a finer trout than 
I had fancied our preserve capable of producing, and 
T heartily congratulated the angler on his performance. 

" ' I will tell you, sir, I once heard one say : " I envy 
not him that eats better meat than I do, nor him that is 
richer, or wears better clothes than I do ; I envy nobody 
but him, and him only, that catches more fish than I 
do." And if there be twenty or forty in a hole, they 
may be, at one standing, all catched one after another, 
they being, like the wicked of the world, not afraid, 
though their fellows and companions perish in their 
sight.' 

" Here, I thought, might be a possible accounting for 
the paucity of recent Club catches in their choicest pre- 
serve. What a profitable mine for a clever pot-hunter 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 6 1 

like this, for instance with large market at ready com- 
mand? Indeed, I rather broadly hinted something to 
this effect. 

" ' Nay. I but follow the practice of that good and 
learned man, Dr. Dowell, who bestowed all his fish 
amongst the poor that inhabited near to those rivers 
on which it was caught, and so do I, for I use to sell 
none.' 

" My companion here suggested that I try my hand, 
and proffered the use of his antique gear. I professed 
a more hopeful familiarity with my own, and made ten- 
tative cast. The response was unexpectedly prompt, and 
a quick strike followed the swift rise. 

"'A fish! a beauty! He's off ! I Damn! Lost !' I 

cried, in varying tones of delight, surprise and chagrin. 

' Nay, then, you must endure worse luck some time, 

or you will never make a good Angler. And pray take 

notice, no man can lose what he never had.' 

" At the prompting of my mentor, I made further 
trial at another spot indicated a little lower down stream. 
I could not but note and admire the accurate technique 
involved in the few practical suggestions he made as I 
prepared to cast. Whether owing to these, or his nice 
choice of location, is beside the mark, but the fact 
remains that a splendid trout quickly rose and took the 
fly. The strike was well timed and the hold secure. 

' But what say you now ? There is a trout now, 
and a good one, too. Tf you can but hold him, and two 
or three turns more will tire him. Now you see he lies 
still, and the sleight is to land him : reach me the land- 
ing net. So, sir, now he is your own : what say you 
now? is not this worth all your labor and my patience?' 

" Here was fascinating sport of a peculiarly interest- 
ing character, surely. Figure to yourself a not unim- 
portant member of an exclusive Fish and Game Club, 



62 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

under the tutelage of a tramp poacher on the Club's pre- 
serves, deliberately proceeding to make that abhorred 
thing, a 'record catch'! For this is just what I did, 
until satiety and the claims of a healthy appetite inter- 
vened, and lunch seemed the one thing needful. This 
we set about to enjoy in the friendliest way in sharing 
the curious medley of our combined supplies. I pre- 
pared one of the largest trout, and baked it in clay in 
the Indian fashion, and ' Johnny ' pronounced it good, 
volunteering at the same time a recipe of his own which 
he averred was of super-excellence. I was so struck 
with the quaint formula, that I wrote it down in his 
exact words : 

" ' Take your Trout, wash, and dry him with a clean 
napkin; then open him, and having taken out his guts 
and all the blood, wipe him very clean within, but wash 
him not; and give him three scotches with a knife to 
the bone on one side only. After which take a clean 
kettle, and put in as much hard, stale beer (but it must 
not be dead), vinegar, and a little white wine, and water, 
as will cover the fish you intend to boil, then throw into 
the liquor a good quantity of salt, the rind of a lemon, 
a handful of sliced horse-radish root, with a handsome 
little fagot of rosemary, thyme and winter savory, 
then set your kettle upon a quick fire of wood, and let 
your liquor boil up to the height before you put in your 
fish ; and then, if there be many, put them in one by 
one, that they may not so cool the liquor as to make it 
fall. And whilst your fish is boiling, beat up the butter 
for your sauce with a ladleful or two of the liquor it 
is boiling in. And, being boiled enough, immediately 
pour the liquor from the fish ; and, being laid in a dish, 
pour your butter upon it, and, strewing it plentifully 
over with your shaved horse-radish and a little pounded 
ginger, garnish your sides of your dish, and the fish 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 63 

itself, with a sliced lemon or two, and serve it up. And 
note that a Trout, if he is not eaten within four or five 
hours after he be taken, is worth nothing.' 

" Wishing to press this strange adventure to the 
furthest limit, I asked the old fellow, after we had fin- 
ished lunch, if he couldn't give us a song, and was 
floored by his prompt response to the suggestion. 

" ' I will indeed sing a song if you will sing another, 
else, to be plain with you, I will sing none. Come on, 
sir. who begins?' 

" Falling in with his humor, I proposed we toss for it. 

" ' Forsooth, I think it is best to draw cuts and avoid 
contention. It is a match. Look, the shortest cut falls 
to me. Well, then, I will begin, for I hate contention ; 
'tis that smooth song which was made by Kit Marlowe, 
now at least fifty years ago.' 

" Whereupon he proceeded to render in quavering 
tones to some strange, quaint air, the whole of that 
classic : 

' Come, live with me and be my love,' 

and having concluded, fairly countered me with : 

" ' Come, sir, 'tis now your turn.' 

" Desirous of maintaining the implied compact in the 
spirit of the occasion, I mentally ran over my small 
repertoire in search of something appropriate, and at 
last thought of that Seventeenth Century gem by ' Rare 
old Ben ' : 

' Drink to me only with thine eyes,' 

which I trolled as best I could, and humbly accepted his 
too flattering comment : 

' Well sung. sir. this song was sung with mettle ; 
and it was choicely fitted to the occasion. T shall love 
you for it as long as T shall know you. Let us drink- 
to the man who made that song. I know him well. I 



64 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

will promise you I will sing a song which I have made 
in praise of Angling to-morrow night ; for we will not 
part till then, but fish to-morrow and sup together, and 
the next day leave fishing and fall to business.' 

" I assured him that the call of that same ' business ' 
was all too clamorous, but that his plan fitted my inclina- 
tion and should be allowed to overrule; and to ensure 
its proper fulfilment I tendered the hospitality of our 
Club House, which, however, he courteously but firmly 
declined. 

' Marry, I will e'en go to my Hostess from whence 
I came, and upon whom I will bestow my fish. She 
told me as I was going out of the door that my brother 
Peter, a good Angler and a cheerful companion, had 
sent word he would lodge there to-night. My Hostess 
has two beds, and I may have the best. We'll rejoice, 
tell tales, and sing ballads, or make a catch, or find some 
harmless sport to content us, and pass away a little 
time without offence to God or man. We shall meet 
to-morrow and renew our acquaintance, for I love any 
discourse of rivers and fish and fishing. Meanwhile, 
farewell ! and let us thank God we have each a dry 
house over our heads.' 

" I watched him gather up his belongings and tramp 
off down the road, my tongue silent and my brain 
awhirl, till he disappeared over a distant rise, when I, 
too, packed up and sought the Club's welcoming hearth, 
which I should enjoy in solitary state for a couple of 
days till some of the other members would come up. I 
turned out early next morning, after an unquiet night. 
scarcely hoping that the prearranged meeting would 
come off. My fears proved true, for although I gave 
up fishing altogether for the day, and searched the road 
in all its length, scoured the lumber-trails, and tramped 
some miles through the woods to an abandoned ' shanty.' 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 65 

in the hope of finding ' Johnny,' or whoever he was, it 
was all without result; he had disappeared from the 
neighborhood as mysteriously as he had arrived within 
my ken! 

" The uncanniness of the whole thing was getting on 
my nerves, all alone as I was, save for the presence of 
the steward-guardian, and after another night like the 
last I could stand it no longer, so determined to drive 
out to the distant village and wait for the party coming 
up in the evening. The morning train for the city was 
being made up as I drove into the station yard and 
jumped off the buckboard on to the platform to get 
quickly into touch with some of my fellows real and 
substantial, if stolid and uninteresting. 

" I had scarcely taken three steps 'jostling my way 
among the motley crowd usually found about a country 
station at such a time, when I suddenly stumbled against 
' Johnny Fish,' preparing to board the train now backing 
in! 

" ' Johnny Fish ' it was without a doubt, just as we 
saw him at the Place Viger, and as I had seen him on 
the train coming up same old clothes, ' boeufs/ not a 
vestige of baggage, but carefully guarding a string of 
fine trout I had as little difficulty in identifying. I drew 
him aside and addressed him in the spirit of the rencon- 
tre by the river, but met only an uncomprehending, 
vacant stare. The patois I then tried may have been 
better understood, but the attitude was sullen, the glance 
furtive, and the desire to avoid all intercourse, not alone 
with me, but his fellow-countrymen, who crowded 
about admiring and handling his string, pronounced. 
He finally broke away and hurried aboard the train, 
where, as it pulled out, I caught final sight of him 
crouching in a corner of a second-class car and cuddling 
in his arms his precious booty. 
5 



66 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" I met the jolly party at the evening train and did 
my best to fall in with the sport of the ensuing days 
and the jollities of the evenings around the camp-fire. 
I said nothing of my adventure, and I fear my reserved 
demeanor scarcely escaped notice. I was anxious to 
get away from the locality and the pressure of its 
strange happenings, but stayed till the party were all 
ready to go. I got back to town yesterday, and found 
you were away. My uneasiness would not wait your 
return, and I hurried down to the Asylum to make 
inquiries. I saw the Lady Superior, who received me 
kindly, but who was genuinely grieved when replying to 
my questions. She told me that ' Johnny ' had faith- 
fully returned, bringing her the customary present of 
trout, but that he had evidently caught a heavy cold 
from his last exposure. Complications of pleuro-pneu- 
monia had set in with swift and fatal effect, and noth- 
ing being known of his antecedents, and having no 
friends, that he had been buried the previous day, with 
fitting rites of the Church, in the paupers' lot at the 
expense of the Institution. 

" There, my friend, you have the whole plain, simple 
story, if you can see it as such. What do you think of 
it?" 

"Well, old man, without raising any questions as to 
Falstaffian proportions in your camping stores, or 
inquiring too closely into your state of mind resulting 
from their consumption, I can at least commend your 
tale considered merely as a ' story,' barring the too 
palpable plagiary already pointed out. It is interesting 
to me, also, from a professional point of view, and 
throws much light on a puzzling case. You may, how- 
ever, dismiss from your mind any conclusions, even ten- 
tatively formed, based on your studies of the absurd 
transmigratory notions of Pythagoras, which, as applied 



A PYTHAGOREAN INTERLUDE 67 

in this instance, I frankly term ' bosh' If I might ven- 
ture off-hand on a rational explanation, I would say 
that the man, contrary to our belief, was not French at 
all, but an Englishman of angling tastes and some cul- 
ture who in youth had become saturated with Waltonian 
lore. Emigrating to Canada in early manhood, and 
happening to settle in a French community rather than 
among his own kith and tongue, he became assimilated 
with its people. Falling ill, perhaps being injured, with- 
out friends and no means, his mind giving way, he 
became a charge on the public of the district, who 
promptly got rid of their responsibility in the usual way 
by ' dumping ' him on us. The effect of his life in the 
healthful routine labor and good care of the Institution 
was beneficial to his bodily condition, though his mental 
ailment remained incurable. This reversion of a disor- 
dered mind to early associations is a commonplace 
occurrence in our experience, but alienists may be inter- 
ested in studying the tendency so intensified in this case 
as to take on the outward form and exact speech of the 
character the demented one believed himself to be on the 
recurring occasions when he assumed it. His former 
profound knowledge of the age and works of ' The 
Compleat Angler ' made the assumption deceivingly 
natural, and a convenient 'cache' for a cunningly 
acquired outfit in a locality no doubt familiar to him 
before your Club ' discovered ' it, afforded easy facility 
for ' dressing the part.' Voila tout!" 

" Yes, it sounds quite plausible. And yet who 
knows f There are some things hidden even from 
clever doctors!" 



68 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



The Fall of a Sparrow. 

"IMMORTALITY! Pooh! the dream of visionaries 
and the solace of fools !" 

" Oh, come, DeChantigny, if you have finally parted 
with your faith and all respect for it, have some regard 
for those who haven't!" 

" There you go, O'Byrne, bristling up like the ortho- 
dox porcupine in the same old way if one merely throws 
a shadow across your path!" 

" Why not try to brighten it, then ? There is surely 
gloom enough without deliberate casting of ' shadows,' 
as you call them." 

" Well, in this instance, it's merely the shadow of the 
axe clearing the brush from your way through the tan- 
gled wood of this old world the only one you'll ever 
travel, so why not make it pleasant?" 

" By slashing and obliterating the ' blazes ' that mark 
the trail you think to make it easier for the voyageur to 
find his way to camp ?" 

" By no means, but I take your simile for my argu- 
ment. We are merely voyageurs, bending under our 
packs and stumbling along the rough portage, content 
if before nightfall we can make camp by the water's 
edge and round off our weary day with a little sleep. 
Oh ! I know well you're going to point out that as each 
night has a morning, and each morning is a resurrection, 
therefore the last long sleep is but a prelude to the 
eternal day! Very pretty, but very illogical. Poetry, 
not prose. The Grand Illusion that, like a will-o'-the- 
wisp, allures the voyageur from the firm path into the 
swamps of speculation. The age-long wail of shackled 



THE FALL OF A SPARROW 69 

Impotence moaning under the lash of Power. The 
effrontery of Ignorance that would insult Science with 
the delusion that death is not Death!" 

" Why, Achille, man, that's quite a speech. What's 
it all about, Martin? I only caught the lingering echo 
as I came in, and if he has hit on anything new and 
useful in our line the world should hear of it." 

As the speaker flung himself into the arms of one of 
the comfortable lounging chairs with which the snug- 
gery of the Resident Medical Staff of the Royal Infirmary 
was generously furnished, we may take a swift glance 
at the trio of young doctors as they group themselves, 
trim and natty in their white duck house jackets, bright, 
alert, intelligent. Despite root differences racial and 
educational which might seem impossible of assimilation 
or agreement, they had been strangely drawn together in 
their freshman year, and the democratic sentiment of the 
great University had cemented the bond that before 
graduation had become jocularly styled the Triple Alli- 
ance of the Shamrock, Thistle and Fleur-de-Lis. 
Achille de Chantigny, elegant, cynical, radical, cherishing 
the traditions of the Old Noblesse from whom he sprang 
as strongly as he hated the traditionary teachings of the 
Church which had carefully trained him in both; Mar- 
tin O'Byrne, impulsive, devout, clerical, a son of the 
people, with a heart of gold and the hand of a friend ; 
Angus Farquharson, cool, cautious, liberal, with a mind 
to get on and a will to do it; all three, after four years 
of wrestling with the problems of lecture-room, clinic, 
hockey and football, had found themselves in a bunch 
at the top of their class and been duly granted their 
degree of M.D. by a gratified Alma Mater. By virtue 
thereof supplemented by a little discreet influence of 
interested friends with the Board of Governors, they 
were appointed to three of the half-dozen coveted posi- 



70 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

tions on the Resident Staff of the Infirmary yearly 
granted to newly-fledged University nestlings of marked 
worth, and had already settled down into the interesting 
routine of work, study and responsibility. 

The Staff sitting-room is one of the cosiest nooks in 
the noble pile of buildings that towers like a baronial 
castle from the hill overlooking city, river and plain, 
below and beyond, and stands as an enduring monument 
to the large-hearted benevolence of the founders. It is, 
when duty permits, a favorite meeting-place of the three 
friends for quiet chat or lively argument, as the mood 
may be, hence we find them here after lunch on this 
fair summer day, and join with the last comer in expec- 
tant waiting for the answer to his question. 

" Oh ! merely the too common occurrence of ' another 
good man gone wrong/ " said O'Byrne, answering Far- 
quharson's look of inquiry which emphasized his spoken 
words. " Some questions are matters of insight and 
faith rather than argument, which serves only to cloud, 
not clear, and I'm deeply grieved to stand with a friend 
at the fork of two streams and see him wilfully choose 
the one plainly leading to disaster, if not the utter wreck 
of his frail bark." 

" Well, as to that, Martin," answered Farqnharson, 
" all rivers lead to the sea, and if some of us do get on 
to a branch that proves turbulent and dangerous we must 
still keep on. It's less risky than trying to turn back in 
the swift current, and even when we reach the rapids 
there's always the channel and a sure paddle to fend us 
from the rocks. And say we do strike, fill and sink, one 
can always swim and chance the aid of a hanging limb 
to effect a safe landing ashore. True, some do get 
drowned, and then " 

"And what then?" queried O'Byrne. 



THE FALL OF A SPARROW 71 

" Then !" echoed De Chantigny, " nothing ; that's the 
end!" 

" Who knows ? Maybe it is for some who will it so," 
murmured Farquharson. 

" No, oh, no ! Blindly wrong, both of you. Surely 
you, Achille, can't have forgotten or entirely cast away 
all the teachings the good preceptors of St. Ignatius so 
faithfully instilled; and you, Angus, must surely retain 
some memory of the lessons taught in your Board Schools 
respecting the bliss of the blessed dead and how to attain 
it, even if you do not hold to the reality and efficacy of 
their prayers? You, at least, believe you have a soul, 
and hope for its salvation; and if Achille has cut loose 
from this I hope he has the wish he might be able to 
see it as I do, and as millions more have done, and will 
yet do !" 

" I suppose," answered Ferguson, thoughtfully, " many 
of us give some sort of intermittent negative intellectual 
assent to the great truths of God, the Soul, and a Future 
life, and a much smaller number try to apply them to 
their preparatory training in the present, but I fancy the 
problems of bare existence press so heavily on most as 
to shut out all thought of things beyond their immediate 
vision, and stifle any higher ideal than the human aspect 
of the Golden Rule. If even this were fully lived up to 
I believe much of the rest would follow, but it's by no 
means an ' easy yoke,' and, as I say, one must live." 

" Yes, while the soul starves to feed the perishable 
body!" said O'Byrne. 

" Oh, there you go again, Martin," cried DeChantigny, 
passionately, " lugging in your mystical talk of a soul ! It 
seems to me so weak for a trained mind in a grown body 
to hold to these exploded theological myths and dogmat- 
ical bugaboos long after one has discarded the nursery 
tales which rest on quite as firm a foundation. Now, I 



72 AT THE SIGN OF THE^BEAVER 

ask you plainly, as trained specialists, what smallest scien- 
tific basis of fact can you advance in support of your 
purely speculative theory that there is any such separate 
entity as this thing you call the ' soul ' ? You have often 
attended the birth of the human infant, and can tell the 
unvarying process from the initial germ to independent, 
breathing life do you know, or can you guess, when 
and how this soul became attached to its body? You 
have stood by many deathbeds and seen life cease, and 
you know the exact process from cause to effect; have 
certified to the fact of death, know the utter impossi- 
bility of life returning, and are sure that the last deceased 
human being is just as dead as Moses did you see that 
' soul ' leave its shell ? You have dissected the dead body 
and explored the convolutions of the brain do you find 
anything there to lead you to conclude that its life-action 
displayed in intelligence, will, mind, is the result of any- 
thing but purely physical functions as natural as those 
of heart or lungs, or have you found any other organ 
to which you can assign soul-function ? You know all 
this, and yet despite your technical knowledge and trained 
reason, you hold and urge these fantastic theories, and 
cheerfully damn all who venture to question." 

" Well, well, dear boy, as I said before, it's a question 
that faith has long ago settled and argument never will, 
and I pray God grant you light. But here comes the 
Chief." 

He entered forthwith, erect, dignified, impressive; 
immaculately but tastefully clad, from his glossy hat to 
his spotless shoes, his faultess Prince Albert adorned with 
a boittonniere of rare exotics. His ruddy, smooth-shaven 
face under its crown of silver hair wore the placid, 
benign expression usual to the features when in repose, 
and his whole bearing spoke the polished English gentle- 
man of the ideal type. 



THE FALL OF A SPARROW 



73 



Sir George Knowlton knighted for distinguished 
attainments in his chosen and loved profession is cele- 
brated far and wide in his special sphere, and easily 
first in his immediate field of work as Chief Surgeon to 
the Infirmary. He is the idol of his students in the lec- 
ture-room, the clinic, and at the operating table, where 
his keen mental acumen, masterly exposition and brilliant 
demonstration hold them thralled. His brougham and 
handsome bays may be seen any day before the most 
fashionable doors, whence he draws the generous fees 
that sustain these evidences of success, and, again, he 
may be met on foot, or alighting from a modest cab, 
late at night at the humble dwelling whence few or no 
fees can come, and where the sense of benefit conferred is 
often his only reward. His manner at the bedside of 
sick wealth or poverty is the same, and his mere presence 
often as potent to inspire confidence and assist recovery 
as the drugs he so accurately prescribes. He is equally 
at home at Directors' meeting, fashionable reception, pub- 
lic charity, or parish vestry, where his words are ever 
valued and his counsel is always wise. He is a force in 
the community, and returns in generous measure of ser- 
vice something of that appreciation it gave to help make 
him what he is. May the mutual regard long continue ! 

He has drawn off his gloves while we are looking at 
him, and seated himself with a pleasant greeting : 

" Good afternoon, gentlemen, don't let me interrupt. 
Perhaps I can assist your discussion. May I know the 
point?" 

" He listened attentively while, half-unwillingly, the 
theological, not medical, nature of the discussion was dis- 
closed by the three participants, and having heard all 
with absorbed, pained expression, sat silent as the others, 
then glancing from one to the other, said simply : 

" Let me, at least, gentlemen, beg your serious con- 



74 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

sideration of the Great Philosopher's dictum that ' there 
are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of 
in your philosophy.' " Then more briskly added : " By 
the way, I come quite apropos to-day. There's an emer- 
gency case just brought in that we're to have for the 
clinic this afternoon, and I hope to make it interesting. 
Sad case, too, poor little thing looked at it as I came 
by, and heard some particulars. The books, of course, 
will state it differently, but I call it a Sacrifice of Inno- 
cence to the Moloch of Dividends. In other words, a 
little girl playing in a narrow, crowded street is run over 
by an electric car and has both legs crushed, necessitating 
amputation on the very remote chance of saving life. I 
shall want your assistance, and we have just time to get 
ready, as they are preparing the theatre now, and it is 
close upon the time of assembling, but listen !" 

The too familiar muffled rumble of a ward stretcher 
with the patter of accompanying feet echoed from the 
flags of the corridor through the open door, but faint 
yet clear amid the general hush of voice and movement 
came the weak treble of a child's voice sweetly singing: 

" Jesus loves me, this I know, 
For the Bible tells me so; 
Little ones to Him belong, 
They are weak, but He is strong." 

Not a word was said as the attentive ears of the four 
followed the fading sound of the voice and the attending 
feet accompanying their pitiful charge, and no comment 
was made as the last echo died away and was lost in the 
direction of the operating theatre whither their steps led. 
Sir George slowly rose, paused thoughtfully a moment 
and turned to his companions as if about to refer to the 
episode, but his mood swiftly changed, and he became at 



THE FALL OF A SPARROW 75 

once the eager, brusque medical man his students knew 
and loved, and with a curt " Come, gentlemen, we lose 
time!" led the way to equip themselves for the profes- 
sional work in hand. 

Sir George's ward clinics are always thronged to the 
full capacity of the space, and at his operations there is 
seldom a vacant seat in all the amphitheatre even resi- 
dent practitioners being willing, on occasion, to scramble 
with jostling students for the chance of choice seats. 
To-day all the ample tiers of benches were full, note- 
books were fluttering in the warm, bloom-scented summer 
breeze from the open windows overlooking garden and 
wood, and opera glasses in the hands of provident and 
lucky owners on the back benches were levelled at the 
group in the centre clustered about the frail bit of 
humanity on the table upon which all eyes were focussed, 
and which to most of them was of interest merely as a 
" case." They saw only a slight, ill-nourished little girl- 
waif of the streets, whose supreme ideal of happiness was 
a mission-school entertainment, and if the pathos of it all 
were present to their minds the sentiment was merged in 
the wider interests of the science to which they had 
devoted themselves. The attendant nurses, too, took on 
somewhat of the general professional air, but their trim 
uniforms and business-like appearance of bared arms 
could not altogether efface the mother-instinct that 
softened the alert expression of their eager faces as they 
deftly, swiftly, silently attended to their duties. Sir 
George, in working dress, took in with quick and com- 
prehensive glance every detail of the preparations, but 
as DeChantigny was nonchalantly proceeding to admin- 
ister the anesthetic he stopped him with a look, stepped 
to the side of the patient, took a hand in one of his and 
with the other smoothed back the tangled hair from the 
pale forehead, and said softly, but in tones that were 



76 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

heard throughout the theatre in the strained silence that 
had fallen upon all by reason of the unusual proceeding: 

" Do you know me, my child ?" 

" Oh, yes, I know you, Doctor Knowlton," came the 
faint answer. 

" You don't think I would hurt you, do you, dear ?" 

" Oh, no, you were good to me when I had the fever, 
and you know the nice little baby brother you brought us 
last year " 

Sir George did not try to recall the first incident, or 
linger over questionings as to the expediency of the cir- 
cumstance, under the probable social conditions, which 
necessitated his forgotten presence on the second occa- 
sion, but continued : 

" Well, we're going to fix your poor legs, but we won't 
hurt you. If you'll be good and quiet and do as Doctor 
DeChantigny tells you, you'll just go to sleep and not 
know anything about it." 

" I always say my prayers before I go to sleep ; may 
I now, doctor?" 

" Yes, my child, certainly you may ; we'll wait." 

" And self-sufficient Intellect respectfully waited and 
looked silently on while simple Ignorance interpreted the 
Mystical Speech in childish whispers : 

" Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep; 
If I should die before I wake, 
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take." 

If an occasional Amen were furtively whispered, none 
were more reverently sincere than the unspoken one of 
the great surgeon pityingly regarding and still holding 
the little fingers of the child in his strong hand. 

" I sing, too, doctor," came again from the thin lips as 
the eyes opened and looked up to his in unspoken appeal. 



THE FALL OF A SPARROW 77 

" You may do that, too, if you like," was the quiet 
answer. 

And again cultured Science bowed in silence while 
untutored Faith demonstrated, in clear, if faltering tones, 
the reality of its unintelligible assurance: 

" Jesus loves me, loves me still, 
Tho' I'm very weak and ill; 
If I love Him, when I die 
He will take me Home on high." 

" I have a good-night kiss, too," pleaded for the third 
time the tired eyes and weak voice. 

Unhesitatingly, with every eye fixed searchingly and 
wonderingly upon him, Sir George stooped to give the 
wished-for " good-night kiss," but as the weak hands 
drew close the bending head and the trembling lips 
returned the kiss with a whispered " Good night, dear 
doctor," none, not even the child, heard that the surgeon's 
greeting was " Good-bye," not " Good-night." 

He stepped back with a nod to his assistants to pro- 
ceed. Drowsiness swiftly followed the application of the 
ether and complete anesthesia immediately supervened. 
Farquharson busied himself with the instruments, while 
O'Byrne's watchful finger tested the pulse-beats and his 
eyes followed DeChantigny's movements as he bent over 
the pallid face. Suddenly O'Byrne started and touched 
DeChantigny's arm with significant meaning. The cone 
was swiftly withdrawn, and DeChantigny's ear bent over 
lips and heart. He, in turn, started back and looked 
inquiringly at Sir George, who, stepping forward, quickly 
satisfied himself as to the significance of their move- 
ments. He stood a moment thoughtfully regarding the 
bandaged limbs, and, with a low-drawn " Better so !" 
turned to address the assembly, who were regarding 
every move with eager expectancy. 



78 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" My dear fellow-students : While I cannot say this 
climax was entirely unforeseen by me, I must be 
acquitted of any intention of planning a coup de theatre. 
We are taught, and rightly hold, that life is a precious 
thing, and our duty is to preserve it with all care and 
skill ; but who will dare deny the merciful result of this 
incomplete operation, even if its scientific interest for you 
abruptly terminates in an ordinary death from shock. I 
have no desire to imperfectly assume the function of the 
preacher, but I cannot refrain from reminding you in the 
presence of this once living organism that what our 
schools teach is but a phase of the immense questions of 
Life and Death. If what you have seen and heard 
to-day leads you to broaden your studies of biology into 
an examination of the sociological conditions under which 
such actual lives are begun, continued and ended, and 
impels you to achieve something in the direction of mak- 
ing them more humanly attractive, joyous, hopeful, and 
such wreck of them less common ; if it helps you to 
throw upon a cold, materialistic study of Death a psycho- 
logical light not caught from text-books and to bear it 
with you always, your time here to-day, these few words 
of mine, nay, even the sacrifice of this poor, young life, 
are none of them lost. The clinic is dismissed !" 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 79 



The Way of a Man with a Maid. 

ON the deck of the coasting steamer which skirts the 
shores of the Gaspe Peninsula stood a group of three 
with glasses levelled at the mouth of a little river toward 
which the steamer was making. 

Father, mother and daughter, evidently, and a truly 
sympathetic family party they appeared to be, loitering 
in one of the by-ways of travel. That their pleasure 
was not of the commonplace globe-trotter order was 
clearly seen in the nature of the baggage placed about 
them on deck, as if preparatory to a landing, though 
where this could be made was not apparent to others 
standing by until the gentleman of the party, whose mis- 
cellaneous collection of bags, boxes and bundles of ang- 
ling gear was prominently stencilled with the name 
" Lindsay," exclaimed : 

" See, there are the canoes waiting for us ! Yes, 
one two three ! Gaston and Henri with one each, and 
two new men with the baggage canoe. Everything here, 
I suppose. Well, we'll soon be up to them, and then, 
' the world forgetting, by the world forgot,' eh, little 
one ?" turning with a fond smile to the eager face of the 
girl by his side. " You're sure you don't regret this 
plunge into the unknown?" 

" Now, dad, don't spoil my anticipations with your 
forebodings. You know I've dreamed of this experience 
for months, since you told me you had leased this river 
where you and mother first met and studied ' The Com- 
pleat Angler ' and other things together." 

" Well, I've brought along the same evergreen old 
Izaak, and you can't do better than take him for your 
guide." 



8o AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

"Not Gaston!" 

" Oh, Gaston's well enough in his place 

" But mustn't presume to know ' other things ' stick 
to his paddle and pole, eh ?" 

" There are lots of ' things ' the wise campaigner drops 
from his outfit as useless, and among them I class ' silly 
notions.' " 

" I assure you, dad, I haven't one with me. However, 
this model guide Gaston, I mean, not Izaak looks 
promising as a field of study, and I mean to explore." 

" Gaston, as I said, is a very good river man none 
better, indeed and for that reason I surrender him to 
you ; but I don't want him spoiled by getting ' notions ' 
outside his strict duties, remember." 

"You dear old goose, does he look like it? It is just 
because he seems absolutely empty of ideas that I am 
impelled to fathom the void purely in the interests of 
psychological research, you understand." 

" Yes, child. I understand, and trust you fully, too, but 
all the same, there are some ' things ' better left out of 
a jest as well as a camp-kit." 

Steam had been shut off, the boat slowed down, and 
finally brought to a stop with a few backward turns of 
the paddle-wheels alongside the small flotilla of canoes 
sitting light as gulls on the smooth sea. The men, who 
had been resting on their paddles intently watching the 
nearing boat, now stood up in welcome greeting, which 
varied in form from the broad grin of the new men to 
the graceful touch of Gaston's hat-brim, accompanied 
with a pleasant smile and his respectful " Salut, M'sieu' !" 

" Well, Gaston, back again once more, you see ! How 
goes it, Henri? Here, boys," to the new men, "get the 
stuff aboard!" was Mr. Lindsay's cheery greeting. The 
command being promptly carried out, the transfer of the 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 8j 

living freight from the solid deck to the frail-looking 
transports carefully followed. 

" This is my daughter, Gaston not very big, but very 
precious, so take good care of her. Wife and I will fol- 
low in Henri's canoe and I will take a hand with the 
paddle, if a year's rest hasn't made me rusty. The boys 
will bring the baggage. Hn avant, Gaston, we must 
make camp before dark!" 

Mutual farewells were tossed from laughing lips and 
fluttering handkerchiefs as the distance widened between 
the departing steamer and the canoes now heading for 
the river mouth, Mr. Lindsay's planning of the loads 
easily enabling all to keep near one another in the order 
of the start. 

Miss Lindsay, known formally on occasion to her 
mother as Margaret, but whom we may be permitted, 
with her father and other intimates, to call Madge, had 
been placed in a reclining canoe-seat in the bow, facing 
forward, but the injunction to sit still was hardly neces- 
sary in view of the entrancing new sights which held her 
rapt. 

The little settlement at the river's mouth was soon 
passed, the scattered farm-houses along the banks 
appeared at longer intervals till the last one was reached, 
and the voyagers were threading the windings of the 
river as it swept and rippled over pool and shallow 
between the overhanging arms of the virgin forest, which 
in places almost touched hands across the silver stream 
beneath. Again the river would spread and branch, 
where stretches of shingled islets barred its troubled 
flow from the boulder-strewn, rocky gorge which led 
from the reed-bordered, level reach above. At this van- 
tage-point civilization had established one of its outposts 
in the shape of a sawmill, which utilized the smooth 
stretch of water for the storage of the logs cut in the 
6 



82 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

timber country above, floated down, and securely held in 
by the booms extending far up river, leaving only a nar- 
row passage-way for batteau or canoe. The tall, flame- 
topped chimney of the incinerator, built by the mill- 
owners for the compulsory destruction of sawdust and 
refuse slabs, was belching out its smoke over the unsul- 
lied surrounding foliage. As they passed, Gaston, who, 
when not acting as " guide," was one of the most skilful 
lumbermen, and foreman of a "gang" of which Henri 
and the other men were trusty members told his inter- 
ested charge of the life in the shanties far in the heart 
of the country in the depth of winter when the logs were 
got out ; of the exciting drives when they came down on 
the spring floods; and the dangerous jams which only 
the strongest and bravest might dare to break at perhaps 
the risk of swift, mangled death. It required some judi- 
cious leading to " draw " the taciturn canoe-man, whose 
tireless paddle or pole had been unceasingly wielded over 
the miles of water they had passed, but whose voice had 
hitherto, Madge was glad to notice, not once broken into 
the reveries in which she had been absorbed as the swift 
strokes brought new delights to her appreciative sense 
at every bend of the stream. 

If Gaston's tongue had been unemployed, it is easily 
conceivable that the eyes of an all-observing " guide " 
need not be wholly occupied in watching for shoals, rocks 
or snags, but might occasionally rest on the by/.no means 
unpleasing although rear view of the picture immediately 
in front of him. A finer-tutored male being than he 
might even be at a loss to account for the witchery 
twisted among the coils of a fair head topped with a trim 
outing cap, although fully sensible of its power to attract 
the most indifferent eye, especially when interposed in 
the direct line of vision of a straight course upon which 
one is bent on steering a canoe, but a conversation spas- 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 83 

medically carried on over shoulders however shapely 
cannot be altogether edifying, if it may not indeed .be 
wholly unsatisfactory. 

It may have been that Madge was satiated with 
" scenery," and a change of position appeared restful, or, 
again, the psychological study of this new and unknown 
species which she had promised herself may have 
recurred to her and the time seemed propitious to begin ; 
however it was, the impulsive girl, unthinking of the 
unstable nature of a canoe in resisting sudden movement, 
whirled about to face the steersman, only to be greeted 
with a quick, sharp : 

"Mais, pren' garde, ma'm'selle, pour I' amour de 
Dieu!" 

As she sank to her seat on the bottom of the canoe, 
Madge realized that the alertness and skill of her pro- 
posed " subject " had alone averted disaster. 

" Mademoiselle will pardon the French and the manner 
of it?" apologized Gaston, "but the danger was great, 
and I forget 'tis not the gang on the logs I talk to." 

" Nearly over, weren't we? and then, Farewell, a long 
farewell to all my frizzes!" parodied the girl to her 
uncomprehending, serious-eyed companion, for whose 
relief she quickly added: 

" But I can swim, and I suppose you can, so it wouldn't 
much matter getting a little wet so close to camp, would 
it?" 

" You swim !" gasped the astonished Gaston, as he 
stared in wonder at this order of woman most uncom- 
monly "new" to his ken. "Seigneur! Not more than 
three men of my gang can swim one stroke !" 

"Not!" was the amazed reply. "Why how what 
can they do when an accident happens?" 

Gaston's only answer was a significant shrug, and a 
sideward-glancing nod over the gunwale. 



84 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



" Well, I never !" was all the girl's ample vocabulary 
afforded on sudden call. . 

" I find it curious but true," commented Gaston, " the 
waterman likes not the water; and a woman swim! 
never have I seen or heard of it." 

" And I never knew a landsman who couldn't. All 
our girls at college can obliged to learn, in fact and I 
happen to hold the Championship." Then, having ven- 
tured this modest admission, and seeing his wonderment 
grow, Madge mischievously hurried on : " Oh, women 
can do many things you may not have heard of or seen 
ride, fence, shoot, anything, everything as well as cook 
and keep house, which some think we should only do. 
I can't yet fish for salmon or paddle a canoe though if 
you will teach me I mean to learn to do both but I can 
pull a fair oar in our college crew, and " 

Suddenly recalling her chums' given sobriquet, " the 
Mad Lindsay," the girl here broke off, and leaning back 
on the cushioned seat, she again gave herself up to the 
restful enjoyment of the passing scene of river and wood, 
leaving Gaston to silent consideration of his new view- 
point. " Crew," " champion," were household words in 
the shanties, but such glib familiarity with the lips of this 
radiant visitant from another world was strangely bewil- 
dering and called for a readjustment of his ideas on 
many points. No wonder her father should caution him 
to take special care of his precious charge, and he, Gas- 
ton Delahaye, the smartest guide and riverman in the 
Gaspe Peninsula, would surely be faithful to his trust ; 
would teach her all she cared to learn of the angling 
craft; help her to the full enjoyment of her holiday, and 
see her depart on the steamer to her own place with 
never a thought beyond the discharge of his duty, for 
which he was well paid. 

But how different this girl to Alphosine down there on 



THE WA Y OF A MAN WITH A MAID 85 

the farm by the beach, a slice of which would, no doubt, 
be hers when her parents bestowed her hand and dowry 
on the man of their well considered choice. She was 
content to milk the cows and rake the hay on week-days, 
and on Sundays to drive in her fine, new, home-made hat 
and gown to mass at the parish church seven miles away 
on the chance of a smile and a kind word from Gaston, 
the best shanty-man in all the camps. And why deny 
her? Why not say the word for which she fondly waits 
the troth-pledge which shall bind two hearts of kindred 
race and faith, and prepare the way for the calling of the 
banns, the wedding, the little home, and the large family 
which count as riches among the folk of the countryside ? 
Why not, indeed, when all things point to so manifest 
and fitting destiny ? . Ah, but that was yesterday, before 
this dazzling meteor flashed across the placid heaven of 
simple bliss ! Beware, Gaston ! Take heed that he who 
worships a star sets a snare for his feet ! And yet, why 
not? A man's a man, and 'tis that a woman loves, in the 
city as in the woods, and the blood of the De la Haye 
who came over with the Bourbon lilies and dyed their 
white field red with it is as good as the best ! And does 
it not run in the veins of this far-away descendant in a 
corner of La Nouvelle France where first his great ances- 
tor set foot and joined in the Te Deum when the Golden 
Lilies were unfurled to the welcoming breeze? Nay, 
nay ; peace, fool ! Take heed to thy work and the stran- 
ger's pay. Leave idle dreams and wander not from the 
ways of thine own people to thy soul's hurt. Up ! On ! 
for dark falls and the camp must be reached. 

If strange, unwonted communings flitted through Gas- 
ton's disturbed brain, he gave no outward sign, but 
steadily urged the canoe along its course. The girl, too, 
showed nothing in her face of any thought but supreme 
content in the lulling, swiftly-gliding motion of the canoe 



86 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

over the shadows of the trees in the smooth water. In 
fact, she seemed to have forgotten the existence of her 
self-apportioned " study," and the casual and indifferent 
glances her wandering eyes happened to bestow upon him 
as his powerful arms drove the paddle through the water 
betokened no further recognition than as part of the plan 
for her enjoyment. 

Her reveries, however, were now interrupted and her 
thoughts brought down to the level of matter-of-fact as 
Gaston's voice quietly broke in : 

" Via le camp, ma'm'selle!" 

" Already ! Oh, I thought we were miles away yet !" 
And even as she spoke the canoe had slipped alongside 
the little landing-stage. Gaston had stepped ashore, 
knelt, and with one hand steadying the canoe was holding 
out the other to assist her to land. 

Now, this was a very ordinary proceeding in the 
routine of a guide's duty at which Gaston usually posed 
gracefully ; but as the little fingers were placed con- 
fidingly in the strong hand held out in support of the 
dainty figure stepping from canoe to wharf, and a plea- 
sant word of thanks for the safe ending of an entertain- 
ing voyage was dropped from the smiling lips, something 
of incongruity of attitude seemed to strike the kneeling 
Gaston, who fumbled with the canoe and could only 
mutter : 

" "Tis nothing 'tis but the day's work." 

The changed tone was barely noticed by the girl as she 
swept a glance across the broad shoulders bent over the 
canoe in the act of unloading the small belongings scat- 
tered therein. The interest, if any there were, was but 
momentary, and quickly disappeared as Madge caught 
sight of the other canoes coming up the reach and mak- 
ing for the landing. Fluttering signals gave way to 
cheery greetings as the canoes neared and swung in to 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 87 

shore. The bustle of unloading passengers and baggage 
broke in on the solitude; then, with the care-free air of 
children, the little procession passed up the footway to 
the lodge on the bank above. 

Camp housekeeping being but a matter of turning a 
key or driving a tent-peg, spreading a blanket and open- 
ing a can, the preliminaries are soon over, belongings 
stowed away, supper prepared by deft and experienced 
hands and heartily enjoyed by sharpened appetites, and 
the happy trio are assembled on the wide verandah, tak- 
ing in in great, satisfying draughts the pine-laden breath 
of the woods in the forest-softened afterglow of a bril- 
liant sunset merging into the delightful northern twilight. 

"So this is the forest of Arden!" interrupted the 
impetuous Madge. " Surely if dear old Touchstone 
were fellow-traveller with us now he would feel no com- 
pulsion towards being content !" 

" Caught the fever already, eh, little one ?" 

" Dad, dear, I actually feel it in my bones. Oh, I see 
it all even now Nature-passion, forest-hunger, river- 
love call it what you will, that lures the votaries of the 
many-named, elusive deity yearly to her shrine. I 
thought it was the fish, and couldn't understand why 
folk could go to such trouble merely ' to kill some- 
thing ' " 

" Which goes to show that you have only learned a 
part. In approaching from the aesthetic side you do 
well ; but, believe me, while emphasizing the fishing, the 
angler does not despise the fish, and the thrill of pursuit 
and capture you have yet to feel." 

" But the man of numbers and pounds the ' record- 
breaker ' ?" 

" Is a thing abhorred, to me, at least. In this camp 
the word is tabooed, and I make it a rule to take no more 
fish than we can use for the table without surfeit, or con- 



88 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

veniently despatch to distant friends who, I think, appre- 
ciate the courtesy." 

" Then angling presents as marked antithetical phases 
as Lord Bacon's Christian Paradoxes?" 

" And as reconcilable into perfect harmony by the 
sympathetic disciple." 

As the little group lingered in pleasant chat, and the 
men lounged and smoked in restful ease after their long 
day's work with paddle and pole, the shadows deepened 
and night closed her curtains about the tired camp, 
reminding all that early hours were now, at least, the 
wise rule for right living. 

" Come, good people, time for bed ! Lights out, Gas- 
ton, and breakfast sharp at seven, as usual !" 

" Oui, m'sieu'!" came promptly back from the men's 
quarters. 

" Mademoiselle takes her first lesson with you to-mor- 
row, you know !" 

" Je suis pret, m'sieu' !" came again, but in a tone not 
quite so sure as the words implied, and soon the whole 
company were being lulled into dreamless sleep by the 
night-song of the wakeful trees, hummed to the river's 
accompanying tattoo rapped against the hollow sides of 
the canoes moored to its bank. 

The fishing programme outlined for the morrow was 
duly carried out on that and the ensuing days, but why 
linger over the details? The making of an angler! 
has it not been touched by the hand of the Master, and 
the impossibility of doing it " by the book " fully shown ? 
To the initiated it is an old, oft-repeated, ever new tale, 
most charmingly told by tongue, pen and brush ; but to 
the uncomprehending, how explain the fascination of the 
Cast, the Rise, the Strike, the Leap, the Rush, ending 
either in the differing excitements of the Capture or the 
Break-away. Suffice it to say that if we have correctly 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 89 

read the faintly-drawn lines of her portrait, we can easily 
imagine the eager and apt pupil gradually but surely 
advancing to the adept degree, and we follow the camp 
rule of keeping no " record." 

Here was employment more absorbing than any 
abstract, psychological study of an obscure woodman's 
undeveloped mentality, whose taciturnity but increased 
with her enthusiasm. His assiduity as mentor was 
unfailing, his care watchful, and his respectful bearing 
marked ; but surely civility, even so far north, might 
easily be less icy, and a guide's discernment should 
promptly inform him when his pupil's hands had learned 
to hold a rod without the aid of another pair. And his 
eyes! Come to think of it, when first noticed they 
seemed to shine with a .frank twinkle, but now, when one 
can fix them at all in their shifty roving, they glow with 
a strange light, like a coal among the ashes of the dying 
camp-fire. Really, this immaculate Gaston is getting tire- 
some, and his small stock of words grows rapidly less. 
The merry Henri, or even one of the new men, though 
less skilful, would be more entertaining than this " boss 
of the gang," as he calls himself. One can be civil to 
a woman and keep his place without being a bear. Well, 
even a woman can do something to stir up a bear. He 
won't rise to a Jock Scott like a salmon, but perhaps a 
Magpie or a Gnat may attract his majesty's attention. 
True, the old English proverb says something about 
" sleeping dogs," which, no doubt, includes bears, and his 
French one goes further in declaring, " Il-y-a un cochon 
qui dort dans chaqun." No matter ! mischief's afoot ; 
stir he must, and a bun will quiet him. 

" Here, Gaston, put up the rod, please ; I'm tired of 
fishing and want to rest." 

" Mademoiselle commands." 

" Well, then, talk to me !" 



90 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" Mais" 

" Oh, you can talk fast enough when you like. You 
did pretty well the other evening when the men teased 
you about some ' petite Alphosine.' You talk to her, no 
doubt. Yes, tell me about her! Where does she live? 
Is she pretty and charming above all others ?" 

" Alphosine ! She is nothing to me." 

" Oh, fie, Gaston, 'tis not the part of a good cavalier to 
deny his lady in that fashion. Does the taint of the 
Disloyal Fisherman run through you all?" 

" Mademoiselle is pleased to jest with sacred things, 
and trifle with matters she does not understand." 

" Not understand ! And what may it be that is so far 
beyond my poor comprehension?" 

" This love at which Mademoiselle laughs." 

Now, Mademoiselle had well-defined notions of her 
own upon the subject which she considered well-fitting 
in general, and eminently satisfactory to herself in par- 
ticular. Moreover, she saw in imagination a dear face 
bent over a desk in the heat and turmoil of a distant 
city, lighted with the hope of a nearing day when the 
strong hands and clear brain should achieve the home for 
the woman whose love was already won, and the thought 
interposed a counter-suggestion to the spirit of mischief. 
It was but passing, however, and the wilful sprite of the 
untrammelled woodland had its way with the city maid, 
and her bantering tongue was again loosened : 

" Laugh at love ! And why not ? Hear that old loon 
laughing now ! If he had seen the funny things I have 
he would split his quills. A lover on his knees swearing 
devotion and begging for pity is a paradox of mirth ! I 
told one I'd be a mother to him, but that only made him 
cross, and then he was funnier still." 

" 'Tis as I said, Mademoiselle does not comprehend." 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 91 

" Not, indeed ? Then, wise hermit, expound unto me, 
that I may fully know !" 

With that it was as if the wind had breathed upon the 
ashes where the bush fire has swept, fanning new life 
into the grey death only sleeping among the blackened 
stumps. Creeping with snake-like stealth and licking up 
the smouldering turf, then reaching out fiery tongues to 
the fringe of standing firs and transfixing these with 
reddened fangs, the insatiable devourer roars unchecked 
and mouths its easy prey with ruthless jaws. 

The demon of heredity, born in a lustful and corrupt 
court, transhipped to new lands in the company of an 
arrogant militarism, roving its wilds with the boisterous 
coureur-de-bois and his .savage mate, had slumbered over 
the intervening years to appear reincarnate in the breast 
of this half-tamed rover on the fringe of a civilization, 
the blood of whose sturdy peasantry pulsates with the 
lust of life and throbs with the riot of fecundity, and it 
needed but the unthinking touch to wake the sleeping 
spirit and impel the possessed on the furious path of blind 
and heedless passion. 

" You say you understand, and yet you laugh ! Grand 
Dicu, Mademoiselle, you should fear and pray! You 
come from your great world to these far woods with the 
beauty of the moon in a clear summer's night, fair but 
cold cold as the heart that laughs at the love you think 
you know beautiful and bloodless as an angel of light! 
You would know what this love is? Then learn of the 
king of these woods, the lordly moose. Fancy you hear 
the lusty trumpet-calls of mate answering to mate echo- 
ing through the hills, as I have heard it many times ! 
Listen to the crashing of brush and sapling as he tears 
his way in obedience to the love that drives him on ! 
Hark to the far defiance of some jealous rival frantic 



92 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

with rage! Figure to yourself the meeting of the two 
monarchs rushing to close in deadly strife! Watch the 
eye-flashing onset ! Hear the clash of horns, the pound- 
ing of hoofs, the fury of battle ! The combat joins the 
fearful weapons interlock in the death-grapple oh, the 
trampling and the panting and the blood ! It is the fight 
of kings the prize is love if one may not win neither 
shall the other it is war to the death! So with a man 
who has not the heart of a hare. Thus would I woo a 
woman who shall be my mate. Thus will I win her. 
Thus I claim her, for 'tis you I love, and you are mine, 
and none other shall have you !" 

" Really, Monsieur Gaston Delahaye, I'm scarcely pre- 
pared for this impetuous and dramatic proposal. I can't 
say that I feel greatly honored by such flattering atten- 
tion, either. But let me quite understand. You you 
peasant want to to marry me me! Oh, this is posi- 
tively rich!" 

"Marry! del! I said naught of marriage! What 
are your mumbled rites to me ? I know the peasant may 
not marry the princess may not even have what she 
calls her love but he may have herself, and, by all the 
saints, that will I !" 

"Ah! No! don't touch me! Sit still and hear me, 
you toad, you snake, you any loathsome thing 
whose touch defiles ! You profane the instincts of a 
noble beast in coupling them with your brute impulses ! 
Neither your insults nor your threats can harm me. 
Look at me, you cur! Perhaps you have his excuse and 
are mad. Look at me, I say, and tell me if I'm afraid! 
Cowed, eh? Put me ashore at the mill, instantly!" 

Without a word Gaston sullenly took up his dropped 
paddle, and a few strokes brought the drifting canoe 
alongside the mill landing. The indignant girl, disdain- 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 



93 



ful of the guide's assisting duty, and seemingly oblivious 
of his very presence, stepped lightly ashore and strode 
off up the path. Her advance was quickly stayed and 
her attention gained at the sound of a troubled voice and 
a single apologetic word : 

" Mademoiselle I" 

Fire and passion had seemingly all been burnt out, and 
remorse, penitence, humility, respect, duty, united in pro- 
ducing the tone in which it was uttered. The generous 
girl, disarmed at once, turned to him as he sat still in the 
stern of the canoe. The angry flash faded from her 
eyes as she calmly looked him over. The hot sting 
dropped from her speech as it slowly came in the quiet 
answer : 

"Well?" 

" Mademoiselle is noble, beautiful, kind, and I pre- 
sumed, and trespassed far. She is also good, and knows 
how to forgive. 'Tis as she says, I must have been mad, 
but it has passed. If she will pardon, I am again at her 
command and will no more offend. I pledge the faith of 
a De la Haye! Will she trust it and forget?" 

" Very well, Gaston, the amende is accepted and the 
affront overlooked." 

" Would Mademoiselle care to see the mill ? It is 
interesting! I have the entree and can explain?" 

" Thank you, Gaston, I should enjoy it much. I 
intended asking you to show it to me before leaving, and 
the occasion is convenient." 

Leaving the canoe and gear safely moored, they passed 
on together up the path and entered the mill. To the 
smiling mill hands it was only the rare sight of a lady 
visitor one of " les pecheurs Anglaises " being shown 
round by her " guide," Gaston, whom they well knew in 
other roles in the shanties and on the drives, and little 



94 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

attention was paid to them in their wanderings after the 
first curious glances. Gaston, on his part, brought all 
his native tact and politeness to his aid in striving to put 
Madge at her ease and give her pleasure in the visit. He 
took her first to the dripping chute where the great 
chains slid their long arms down into the logs penned 
in the booms, seized one in their iron grip, snatched it 
on the rollers, and flung it with rumble and clatter into 
the ripping teeth of the shrieking gang-saws, as the auto- 
matic register tallied another victim. He showed the 
process of squaring and trimming ; illustrated the niceties 
of quick decision as to the best use of the cut for deals 
or boards ; and explained the difference in texture and 
value between the prevailing spruce and the rare pine. 
He bade her follow the car with its load of rough boards 
to the machines where they were planed, grooved and 
tongued, and even as she watched were turned out into 
the finished article and whirled away to be stacked and 
dried prior to shipping off to distant markets. He 
showed her how the irregular pieces were set aside and 
swept into the vicious little saws whence they emerged as 
shingles, so that nothing useful be wasted, and even took 
her to where the great boilers were placed, and showed 
her how the immense power to run all this machinery 
and lighting plant was initiated by fires fed from the 
otherwise waste sawdust and deal-ends. As they passed 
on to the incinerator, built for the sole purpose of 
destroying the slabs trimmed off in squaring the logs, his 
better nature shone out as he deplored the sad waste of 
good fuel, for which the poor of the great city would be 
so grateful, but were deprived of by prohibitory trans- 
port cost. 

Madge was keenly interested in all she saw of the 
working of one of the great industries for the supply of 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 95 

the world's needs, and she plied Gaston with intelligent 
questioning. Her resentment had all vanished and she 
was again the enthusiastic learner she had appeared when 
handling rod and paddle. Gaston's demeanor, too, had 
changed. The morose grip of some possessing spirit of 
darkness had relaxed. The imp of taciturnity had fled, 
and the man summoned all his latent gifts of pleasing to 
his aid. He really talked well, Madge thought, as she 
noted the improvement, mildly wondering what new 
phase of a strange personality should next present itself 
for her study. She indifferently remarked an unusual 
brightness in the eloquent black eyes, easily accounted 
for, however, in the excitement of appearing at his best 
in the task of cicerone, for which he felt and showed him- 
self so well fitted. She readily assented to his suggestion 
that they should take a final view of the surroundings 
from the height of the inclined path running beside the 
endless " traveller " which carried the slabs up to the 
opening in the tower of the incinerator, where they emp- 
tied down upon the consuming fires below. The fascina- 
tion of watching such continuous movement is akin to 
that induced when one stands at the brink of a great fall 
of water, and the impulse comes to a weak mind to throw 
one's self in the current. Madge was not of this dispo- 
sition, but she felt a vague uneasiness under the spell, 
and out of observation of the people of the mill. It was 
time for a return to camp, anyway, and they had better 
be moving, she thought, and turned to her guide, who 
stood below her in the narrow passage. 

As she caught the unmistakable gleam in the upturned 
eyes, the set lines of the pale face, and the tense attitude 
of the powerful form barring her descent, full conviction 
of the awful situation burst upon her. There was no 
sign of fear in the answering flash of her eyes as they 



96 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

met his in swift challenge. Physical resistance was 
futile, and hysterical outcry but waste of breath in the 
overwhelming uproar of whirring machinery. It should 
again be a contest of wills, and a life hung on the trial. 
Nerve and training would again win, and a parley was 
the first line of defence. 

"Well, sir, what does this second affront mean? Let 
me pass!" 

" Nay, Mignonne, wouldst fly me thus on our wedding 
morn ? Thou wouldst not have love, and I come to thee 
now in honorable marriage ! See the long procession of 
guests, hear the rumble of their wheels, the laughter and 
the shouting ! Look, they beckon ! They wait for us to 
take our places !" 

'' Let me pass, I say !" 

" Nay, nay, wouldst so offend by turning thy back on 
those who come to do thee honor? See the jewelled 
bracelet I have brought thee! Thy veil 'tis all awry 
I will adjust it. Yonder is the church. The door is 
open. I see the lights and smell the incense. Quick, to 
thy place in thy coach ! I go afoot and meet thee at the 
altar. Ha! ha! Joy! joy! My bride mine and 
none shall take her from me now !" 

With a frenzied cry the maniac sped up the incline, 
stood for a moment at the brink waving his arms in delir- 
ious greeting to the rigid form lying helpless among the 
slabs upon the on-rolling " traveller," then, with beckon- 
ing gesture, turned and leaped through the opening down 
into the yawning cavern of fire ! 

Mr. Lindsay and his man Henri had also come ashore 
at the mill to call upon the manager, and there they found 
her, where the madman had flung her, bound, gagged 
with her own silk kerchief, insensible among the unheed- 
ing blocks sweeping to destruction ! 



THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID 



97 



The affrighted hands, who had rushed out to learn the 
cause of the sudden stoppage of the machinery, and were 
now, with the manager, Mr. Lindsay and Henri at their 
head, crowding the incline with awe-stricken faces, 
pointed to a stout piece of timber which had slipped and 
jammed the gearing, and devoutly crossed themselves as 
the reviving lips told in broken sentences the fearsome 
tale of the half-averted tragedy. 



9 8 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



The Censuring of Montgomery Burns. 

THE Library Committee of Herringville were assem- 
bled in solemn conclave. This august body, like the 
flourishing burgh itself, may, without, offence be termed 
an accretion a product of evolutionary growth. A gen- 
eration ago the liveliest bucolic imagination scarcely 
dreamed of the possibility, not to say need, of the one, 
while the other was yet but a spot in that " undiscovered 
country " upon which the thoughts of acquisitive and 
adventurous denizens of the town ever turn, even in their 
dreams. From a straggling hamlet of a few scattered 
farm-houses and fishing-cots, whose inhabitants strove to 
wrest from unwilling soil and uncertain tide a bare sub- 
sistence through the hot days of a short summer, and 
hibernated for long months while wind and wave and 
berg roared and beat and crunched upon its sea-swept 
cliffs and beaches, the place had grown into the status 
of a full-fledged municipality, with an assessment roll 
all its own. This metropolitan dignity, of course, implied 
the possession of a mayor and council, and among other 
modern improvements not to say objects of interest 
the burghers pointed with civic pride to the possession of 
a " dee-pot," wharf, and sawmill, of proportions suffi- 
cient if not imposing; a store, which included the post 
and telegraph offices ; a hotel and a boarding-house, of 
the ambiguous character designated as " first-class " : 
three churches and a sidewalk one of the former, and 
all of the latter, intermittently conducted on the instal- 
ment plan. The telephone was projected, and some dar- 
ing spirits were even proposing to introduce electric 
light, utilizing for the purpose the spare power of the 



THE CENSURING OF MONTGOMERY BURNS 99 

mill, but in the meanwhile the short stretch of village 
street was darkly illumined by the flickering rays of the 
oil lamps in front of the station, the hotel and the store. 
The hour when these lights were extinguished was the 
signal for all honest folk to be abed, when, of course, 
street lighting is a thing altogether superfluous. 

There were not wanting those who cynically declared 
that this unbounded prosperity was fortuitously due to 
the persistent colonizing of the first discoverers (who 
were shrewdly acquiring the choice sites at rapidly 
advancing prices whereupon to erect the pretty cottages 
now such an attractive feature of the landscape and to 
the assessor), and to the ceaseless praises of their " find " 
sung to eager listeners who thither flocked and taxed to 
the utmost the capacities of the aforesaid hostelries, 
rather than to the initiative of the original inhabitants. 
However this may be, there is no mistaking the avidity 
with which the native-born lays hand on Fortune's 
advancing car, and the deftness with which the hand 
seizes the largess so lavishly dropped by a kindly dis- 
posed goddess. 

The Library Committee is the culminating bloom of all 
this evolutionary growth. Its existence, of course, im- 
plies a library to be managed, and this acclimatized 
exotic is almost as much a matter of pride as the new 
Town Hall in which it is now so worthily housed. Ori- 
ginally established by the visitors in a corner of the Post- 
Office as a sort of clearing-house for the convenient 
exchange of paper-covered summer reading among them- 
selves, the surrounding air of progress and advancement 
actively stimulated its growth. Having no further use 
for them, the patrons were easily induced to leave behind 
their well-thumbed novels. Upper shelves of home book- 
cases were overhauled, and the gleanings freight col- 
lect were poured out upon the distant flag-station plat- 



loo AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

form in more or less heaped profusion for the cheer and 
brightening of those long winter nights. Nor were these 
contributions restricted to the ephemeral last-year novel, 
as copies of a school dictionary, a perfect, uncut " Pil- 
grim's Progress," and an encyclopedic, single-volume 
edition of " Things One Ought to Know " amply testi- 
fied ; and as evidence that the finer aspirations of poetic 
tastes were not forgotten, witness the beautiful, plush- 
bound presentation copy of " The Casquet of Gems," 
cherished as one of the Library's choicest treasures. 
With this prodigality of gifts there was no thought of 
purchase or, indeed, of any fund for the purpose but 
as the collection had now grown to the bulky proportions 
of quite one hundred volumes, fully taxing the shelf 
space of the pine cupboard kindly presented by a well- 
wisher at the time of last spring house-cleaning, rather 
did conservatism incline to drive with a tightened check- 
rein, and even to apply the brake of a strict censorship. 
It was tacitly conceded that books which had already 
established a footing on the shelves had a sort of vested 
interest in the position and might not fittingly be dis- 
turbed ; but, on the other hand, it was properly urged 
that in view of the generous and embarrassing pressure 
upon limited space, the time was opportune for the intro- 
duction of a more discriminating, if not, indeed, restric- 
tive policy respecting new additions. Hence the insti- 
tuting of a Library Committee, born of a happy inspira- 
tion, and launched by enthusiastic and unanimous election 
at a meeting of local patrons specially called for the 
purpose. 

Thus it was that shortly after their assumption of 
office we find the Committee in conference assembled. 
But before inquiring into the special occasion of their 
coming together, let us make the acquaintance of the 
individual members of this august body. 



THE CENSURING OF MONTGOMERY BURNS IQI 

First, by courtesy and of right, Madame Chairman, as 
she had suggested she be addressed in committee, Mrs. 
R. Bannerman-Woods, wife of the prosperous mill- 
owner. The hyphenated name and commanding person- 
ality of Mrs. R. Bannerman-Woods was a tower of 
strength, so to speak, under whose aegis every movement 
in church and state within her sphere of influence took 
shape and flourished. Presence, position, power were 
the self-evident attributes attaching to and radiating 
from the person of this charming lady who so affably 
presided over the Committee's deliberations. Her tact 
and finesse were no less delicate and efficacious in com- 
pelling the prompt, if uncertain, concurrence of the many 
adherents whom she interested in the furtherance of her 
multitudinous schemes for the improvement and regen- 
eration of each successive decadent community amid 
whom her lot had from time to time been cast. 

Next, Mr. Hiram B. Sand, storekeeper and postmaster, 
and, after Mr. Bannerman-Woods, Herringville's most 
important citizen, whose election to a seat on the Com- 
mittee was owing to the electors taking this substantial 
point of view rather than from a conviction of the nom- 
inee's special and expert qualifications for the duties of 
the position. 

Then Miss Melinda Primrose, whose severely plain 
bonnet, mantilla, half-mits and untrimmed black skirt 
were as well known to the female portion of Herring- 
ville as the many changes of Mrs. Bannerman-Woods' 
more gorgeous raiment. Miss Primrose's working hours 
were devoted to catering to the few wants of the fairer 
portion of the population, as the little black and gold 
sign, " Milliner & Dressmaker," affixed to her modest 
door, attested. Unlike that of Mr. Sand, Miss Primrose 
owed her election to a full belief in her special fitness, 
it being popularly accepted that all her leisure moments 



102 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

were devoted to a pursuit of things " literary." It was, 
of course, positively known that, beside her trade fash- 
ion paper, she regularly received the serial numbers of 
the Ladies' Own Journal and the Family Herald, and it 
was even whispered that some of the poetic flights 
appearing therein disguised under a pseudonym were 
really the product of her own teeming brain and fluent 
pen. 

Captain Joe Tarpot, master of the schooner Sea-pigeon, 
the fourth member of the Committee, was pre-eminently 
the popular representative of the people, for the people, 
and by the people, with one voice elected to high and 
unaccustomed place. Captain Joe brought to the delib- 
erations of the Board his hip-high sea-boots, reefer, sou'- 
wester, jolly, red, barnacle-studded face, rimmed round 
from chin to ears with a concave framework of brist- 
ling whisker, and a voice which, ringing from wheel to 
bowsprit above the roar of wind and wave, his crew of 
one man and a boy promptly and tremblingly sprang to 
obey in the teeth of the fiercest nor'-east blow, and from 
which prowling imps making a see-saw of his beached 
dinghy fled in awe and haste. 

Completing the full tale of this important aggregation 
a tail-ender, so to say comes Sol Keys, the hotel 
clerk, who strove to the best of his limited outlook and 
the capabilities of Mr. Sand's shelves of ready-to-wear 
adornments to emulate the air and vogue of a distin- 
guished guild, of which he was a humble, if locally im- 
portant, brother. 

Sol, or at least his election, may be characterized as 
a compromise. It was generally conceded that the 
" minister " was fairly entitled to a seat, but, as on 
another occasion when a choice was in question, " the 
delicate question ' Which?' arose, an' they argy'd it out 
as sich." The special qualifications of both pastors were 



THE CENSURING OF MONTGOMERY BURNS 103 

admittedly equal and undoubted, but as the one was 
objected to as old, " goody," and " Orthodox," while 
the other was scouted as young, " advanced," and 
" Congregational," sectional parochialism again trem- 
bled on the verge of open war over the traditional bone 
of contention, " Which?" The waggish suggestion of 
the bus-driver to the effect that inasmuch as the purely 
" literary " element was well represented in the person 
of Miss Primrose, his friend, Mr. Sol Keys, being in 
close touch with the world of patronage from which 
benefactions flow, and gifted with the persuasive suavity 
needful to divert the stream hitherward, should be 
" given the job," was hailed as an inspiration and quickly 
acted upon. 

The Committee thus constituted being met in full 
number, the cause of their assembling may now be gath- 
ered from the President's own words addressed to her 
colleagues : 

" We meet, dear friends, for the first time in discharge 
of the important I may say, highly important duties 
pertaining to our functions of guardians of the public 
weal. In creating a Committee such as ours for the 
supervising and censoring of the mental pabulum upon 
which readers shall be allowed to feed, this community 
but follows the admirable precedent set by the Church in 
earliest days and the latest methods employed by metro- 
politan librarians. The doors of our Library have hith- 
erto swung in too easy welcome to every chance comer, 
but with your co-operation we shall endeavor to remedy 
that fault of a too generous hospitality. 

" We have before us, as you know, a letter from Mr. 
Montgomery Burns, the rising young author, who, I 
am told, was not unknown to many of our people when, 
in his young days, he spent his summers here in the 



104 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

not to speak it disparagingly callow years of our now 
prosperous community 

" Know Monty Burns !" interrupted Captain Joe. 
" Wai, I guess. He wos a limb, that's wot he was. A 
limb of Satan, full uv the ol' Nick as a shark's mouth's 
full of teeth. W'y, jest let me tell" 

" Smart boy, Monty. Could ketch more fish in half 
an hour than the hull caboodle of us could in half a 
day, an' wade the brook up to his neck a-doin' it, too," 
interjected Sol. 

" Never tho't he'd a-growed up into one uv them slab- 
sided writin' fellers, tho'," mumbled Captain Joe. 

" Learned the trade after you got through schoolin' 
him, Joe," chuckled Sol, with an accompanying dig in 
the ribs of the ancient mariner. 

" I was going on to say," continued the President, 
'' that Mr. Burns writes pleasantly enough about his book, 
which you see he entitles, ' Verities and Visions,' with 
a sub-title, ' Rovings in Regions of Realism and Rev- 
ery.' He says in his letter that the recollections of 
early days spent here have inspired many of the tales 
and sketches, and that the fictitious name he gives as 
the scene of their action is only a thin disguise for our 
own dear Herringville, and he offers the presentation 
copy in kindly memory of old-time pleasures found here. 
The accompanying press notices are both numerous and 
laudatory, and Mr. Burns casually adds that, having 
taken the same liberty respecting copies presented to a 
number of other public libraries, he was much gratified 
at the flattering words with which the acceptance of his 
book was accompanied in every case. This is, of course, 
quite superfluous and wholly irrelevant, and we must not 
allow our judicial opinion as censors of the Herringville 
Library to be swayed in the least degree by the actions 



THE CENSURING OF MONTGOMERY BURNS 105 

of others. The question of the acceptance or rejection 
of Mr. Burns' book is now before you, and I must ask " 
" Ketch on to all that, Sol ?" whispered Captain Joe. 
" Shut up, you ol' fool, an' attend to the Chair !" 
" Chair's all right, but wot I want to know 
Another vigorous dig in the ribs served to silence if 
not satisfy the inquiring member, and the President 
resumed : 

" I must therefore ask for each individual member's 
opinion as to the action this Committee should take. 
You have all seen, and are supposed to have read, the 
book, which, moreover, has, I understand, somewhat 
irregularly been permitted to circulate unsanctioned. 
Mr. Sand, what do you say?" 

" Wai, madam, I don't fly very high on the book ques- 
tion keep a few staple lines in stock, of course, same's 
T carry everything, from a hairpin to a hayrake. Don't 
claim to be a judge of the in'ards, but this here article 
seems pretty well put together, kinder showy and gay 
cover, and I calc'lated to put a sample in stock anyway 
to sorter brighten up the line. My gal she's a bit of a 
reader got holt of it and read the hull thing. Kinder 
struck on it, too. Says it's got quite a touch of ' local 
atmosphere/ whatever that may mean, and ought to sell 
to our folks well's the summer crowd. I figger it ought 
to be a good buy, and if it got a boost by us endorsin' 
it I'd resk an order for a dozen copies. I can't say more 
than that." 

"Miss Primrose, what is your opinion?" 
"Madame Chairman! I I feel a little nervous 
and a some somewhat diffident in thus speaking he 
he in public, but the a responsibility is great and 
and I must not he he shirk it." The encourag- 
ing regard and muffled applause of the Board gave 
strength to the little lady's halting tongue and, no doubt, 



106 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

trembling knees, and she proceeded with a more assured 
manner : " Of course, I read it all a carefully. I 
was not a attracted by the more a boisterous 
' yarns ' if Captain Tarpot will permit the expression 
but I was really a captivated by some of the a 
delicate flights of fancy, which, to my mind, a estab- 
lish the author's title to rank with the best of our a 
poets. One little thing entitled, ' I Would Forget, ' 
a appealed to me as one of the a daintiest gems 
I have met with in all a literature. Having said this 
much in a unqualified praise, I regret not being able 
to go further in a commendation. In my search for 
anything a improper I always do this, you know I 
mean well I think that as public censors this should 
be our a first duty I stumbled across a most objec- 
tionably a.- erotic poem, in which the author a 
apostrophizes some a female under the a fanciful 
guise of ' The Flower of the Antilles ' ! When a writer 
prints such phrases as a ' plump brown waist and 
satin skin,' ' nectar-breathing kisses,' and vows it is 
' no sin/ glories in the shame of being a enslaved 
in the ' gypsy's wiles ' I pronounce his work as a 
indecent, a immoral, and deserving of being a 
ignominiously a banned !" 

" Say, Sol," cackled Captain Joe, as the little lady 
subsided, roseate and indignant, " ef she cud only make 
ol' Sand-and-sugar believe that, he'd double his order, 
eh-h-h !" 

" Ol' girl's slipped her moorin's. I know the pome. 
Monty wrote it when he was smokin' a good, fat cigar, 
that's all." 

" Now, Captain Tarpot, we'd like to hear from you, 
please." 

" Wai, Missus Woods, I ain't read no fine prent sence 
I drapped my last pair uv specs overboard comin' to 



THE CENSURING OF MONTGOMERY BURNS 107 

anchor in the big blow a month ago, an' as I cudn't make 
nawthin' out uv the big letters in the name plates on 
her bows an' starn, I jest fixed it to let my say-so go 
with the rest uv ye." 

" What do you think, Mr. Keys ?" 

" Oh, I guess it's all right. Very decent of Monty to 
think of it, too. Was goin' to order one for the parlor 
table. For the sake of old times I say, hit or miss, let 
her go! unless what's your own opinion, madam? 
We'd all like to hear it." 

" Well, speaking wholly dispassionately, and quite 
unprejudiced by any personal bias for or against a, no 
doubt, most estimable young man, and confining myself 
strictly to a view of the book as a book. I would say 
that, despite casual instances and fragmentary para- 
graphs where the matter rises to a fairly high level, it 
strikes me on. the whole as a commonplace melange of 
grandiloquent mediocrity which 

" Sol, my boy, the anchor's lost holt, an' I'm adrift 

" Which, nevertheless, need not necessarily be con- 
demned on this ground alone ; but I have here a letter 
from some unknown young friend which, notwithstand- 
ing the otherwise impermissible fault of anonymity, 
deserves most serious consideration. Our young friend 
vigorously complains that the author in describing the 
typical evolution of some imaginary watering-place 
Herringville, of course, understood attaches an unde- 
served stigma to a most worthy community by qualify- 
ing the people as ' sleepy,' and ' slow' and calls upon us 
as public censors to resent the unjust imputation by 

"What's that? 'Slow'! That settles it! I take it 
all back ! No more of him for me, after that !" snapped 
out Mr. Sand. 

" ' Sleepy'!" roared Captain Joe, " I'll wake 'm up ! I'll 
senshnre 'm ! Sense 'm with a rope's end, that's wot 



108 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

I'll do! You fetch 'm here, Sol I seen 'm battin' his 
little w'ite balls over the fish net 's I come along. It's a 
d-d you quit pullin' my coat tails, Sol I say it's a 
d-downright insult, a a rambatious outrage, that's 
wot it is! Fetch 'm right in, Sol! Senshure, indeed, 
you jest watch me do it!" 

" Now, Captain Tarpot, pray don't harm the poor 
young man. Some less violent measures will surely 
serve," pleaded the perturbed and frightened little mil- 
liner. 

" Indeed, Captain Tarpot, it's not a question of bodily 
chastisement at all. It solely concerns the book, and 
not the author, and Miss Primrose is quite right in say- 
ing that we shall readily find some effectual, if less ener- 
getic, method of dealing with the matter," interposed 
the President. 

" Boycottin's too easy. Run him out, an4 his doggoned 
book along with him, I say," cried Mr. Sand, in unap- 
peased wrath, as Sol scurried out of the door to escape 
the storm, echoes of which still rang in his ears as he ran 
plump into the author of all this excitement sauntering 
slowly back from the tennis-ground, racket in hand and 
blazer flung lightly over the other arm. 

" Monty, ol' man, there's the very devil to pay ! The 
Committee your book your letter they're settin' on 
'em now, an' singin' ' Glory, Hallelujah ' to boot. Been 
sent to fetch you, an' I come to give you warnin'. Jest 
time to ketch the train send your bill after you git. 
ol' man, GIT!" 

" Ease up, Sol, and cool off. What's up, anyway ?" 

" I tell you they sent me to fetch you, and 

" Oh, I see. Flattering reception personal thanks 
and all that " 

" No ! No ! You don't understand 

" Yes, I think I do. No need to make such a fuss over 



THE CENSURING OF MONTGOMERY BURNS 109 

a trifle, though. Much prefer they'd sent a note. Still, 
if it pleases the dears, I guess I can stand it. May be a 
good thing, after all." 

" Reckon you'll change your mind when you see 'em." 
" I've got an idea, I tell you. Come on !" 
Having got into his jacket, knocked the ashes out of 
his pipe, and, Sol following nervously in his wake, 
reached the council chamber, Mr. Burns pushed open the 
door and stood a moment quietly regardful of the scene. 
Mr. Sand sat glum and silent. The President's welcom- 
ing bow, meant to be very distant and formal, was shorn 
of its extreme severity by the surprised half-smile of! 
mild approval noting its graceful return. Miss Prim- 
rose shyly glanced the length of his seventy-two inches, 
from clustering locks, .past laughing eyes, over neglige 
shirt, belt and ducks, down to canvas shoes, where her 
gaze modestly rested in mollified satisfaction with the 
proper outward figure of a man, as she wrestled with 
her conscience still objecting to his works. Catching 
sight of Captain Joe in his corner where he sat strug- 
gling to contain his exploding wrath, and endeavoring 
to banish all expression of joyful emotion in again seeing 
his young " limb " branched out into such an attractive 
growth, Mr. Burns hurried over to him with outstretched 
hand and cheery greeting : 

" Why, Joe, you old grampus, I am glad to see you. 
Haven't changed a bit in all these years ! How are you, 
anyway? Do you remember that day ?" 

Here a low word or two had the effect of completely 
shattering the doughty mariner's fell designs, and he 
broke out into a loud " Haw ! haw !" as Mr. Burns 
turned to his neighbor: 

" Mr. Sand, I believe. Pleased to meet you, sir. I 
knew the place before you did, but you've done much to 
improve it since then 



1 10 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" Mrs. Bannerman- Woods will, I know, think me suf- 
ficiently vouched for, and she needs no introduction. 
Her zeal in good works is a household word even in the 
city" 

" And this, surely, is none other than Miss Primrose. 
Oh, your fame has travelled, Miss Primrose. Why, it's 
only the other day I heard my sisters vowing that the 
much vaunted Madame Aiguille couldn't make frocks to 
fit them like dear Miss Primrose down at Herringville 
their own words, I assure you 

" Speaking of your book, Mr. Burns " the President 
now remarked. 

" Oh, pray, don't speak of it, madam. Let us waive 
that and take it all for granted. A mere trifling atten- 
tion, quite unworthy of the kind way you receive it 
and me. And yet, do you know, you really can help me, 
materially. We poor scribblers can't live on paper, or 
by bread alone. Our circulation is all-important, and 
a good word fitly spoken is a swift stimulant. Mr. Sand, 
my publisher writes me, spoke of placing the book on his 
counters if he'd order fifty copies, now ? Yes ! Well, 
that is kind ! Sol, here, has promised to buy a few and 
do all he can to talk it up. Joe, you old freebooter, if 
you don't buy a dozen copies and give them away to all 
your friends, I'll never clew a sheet or bait a hook on 
your old ark again all right! that's settled, then. If 
Miss Primrose will do me the honor of accepting a copy 
it will be the proudest moment of my life ? You will ! 
Oh, thank you! And Mrs. Bannerman- Woods ?" 

"Thank you very much, Mr. Burns, but I couldn't 
think of trespassing that far on your good-nature. If 
you'll allow me to give more practical encouragement, 
I'll order six copies to-morrow." 

" Now, this is overwhelming me with kindness. The 



THE CENSURING OF MONTGOMERY BURNS \\\ 

interview you sought threatened to prove embarrassing, 
but you relieve the situation most generously. I shall 
look to the pleasure of meeting you all new and old 
friends frequently during my stay. Again, many 
thanks ! Good day !" 

There was no regular motion put to the Committee, 
and the meeting slowly melted away without even a 
formal adjournment, Sol merely remarking to Captain 
Joe as they sauntered out : " Well, Cap, I guess she 
goes !" 



112 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

The Princess and the Prisoner 

(A Fable.) 
" Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth." 

FAR back in the Golden Days of Youth there ruled a 
noble King and gracious Queen over the Sunny Land of 
Heart's Delight. 

And the fairest thing in all the Sunny Land were the 
golden curls and the smiling lips and the laughing eyes 
of the little Princess Desire, the true Heart's Delight of 
the Royal Pair. 

In the upbringing of the Royal Child nothing was 
spared to fitly train one destined to such high estate, the 
most experienced instructor, Wisdom by name, being 
retained 'for this high service, and having supervision of 
all tutors and underlings. 

Now all of Wisdom's Law was given in three simple 
rules : LOVE, HONOR, OBEY. For she taught thus : " If 
one loves, one will not harm ; if one honors, one thereby 
wins esteem ; if one obeys, one shall thus learn to rule ;" 
and these precepts she urged continually. 

Now there were about the Palace three slaves whom 
the King had captured from the Outlander, and these 
were given to be the servants of the little Princess to 
minister to her needs and pleasures. And the name of 
the first was Earth, and the second was called Air, and 
the third was Water ; and they all came bending on 
humble knee and proffered loyal homage. 

And Earth spoke : " Lo, I am strong and my limbs 
are stout, and I will bear thee in my arms when thou 
goest abroad, and I will show thee all the beautiful 



THE PRINCESS AND THE PRISONER 113 

things in the Sunny Land and teach thee their names 
and show thee how they grow, and thy days shall be a 
delight and thy nights peaceful, and thou shalt be nour- 
ished and fed." 

And Air whispered : " I will fend thee from all 
noisome vapors that issue from the swamp and dank 
morass, and bring to thee the Breath of Life. I will 
teach thee the song of my tossing branches, and their 
choristers shall make thee sweet music. I will make 
thee toys that fly and sparkle in the sun, and waft thee 
in my winged ships whither thou wilt." 

And Water murmured: " I will lave thee in my secret 
pools so thy flesh shall be fair and thine eyes bright and 
thy laughter joyous, and I will give thee to drink of my 
ever-living springs. I will lead thee by flowery meads 
and make thee garlands of my lilies, and my swift pad- 
dles shall cleave thee fair highways whereon thou mayest 
gaily ride." 

And it was even as the Three had said. 

Now, there was yet another prisoner taken from the 
Outlander a fearsome creature, of magic powers and 
the name of this captive was Fire, and he was forced to 
do menial service for his new master. But by reason of 
his uncertain temper and furious outbursts he was kept 
confined, and none but the Master Workman might 
approach his den under pain of death, for so ran the 
King's decree. 

Now, there dwelt among the maids and serving-men 
a little Imp whom no one fathered and all by turns 
cudgelled or fondled as they were moved to do ; and the 
waif's name was Perversity, by reason of her unheeding 
impulse to Do the Forbidden Thing. And the scullery- 
maid, forsooth, sought the Princess for a playmate, but 
her maid Prudence was wary, and the Governante Wis- 
8 



114 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

dom alert, and Desire and Perversity were kept apart in 
their several places. 

But one day, while Wisdom slept, and Prudence 
dallied with the Officer of the Guard, and Desire wan- 
dered alone, the Imp accosted her and craved compan- 
ionship, which the unguarded Desire thoughtlessly 
accorded, and they strayed away together. 

And as they strolled and chattered, lo, Perversity 
would tempt Desire to Do the Forbidden Thing. " Look 
you, now," quoth she, " this Fire-Demon whom men fear 
and bind is nothing frightful, but a lovely youth all 
gaily apparelled whom it is cruel to so misuse. I have 
peeped and seen let me prove to thee I speak truly." 

And Desire was at first mindful of Wisdom's precepts. 
" Wouldst thou have me thus requite those who love 
me, and dishonor mine own self ? Is it not written : 
' Thou shalt not !' and must I not obey?" 

But Perversity entreated and Desire yielded, and 
together they sought the captive's den. 

And lo, to the beguiled vision of Desire it appeared as 
if Perversity had indeed spoken truth, for by his magic 
the erstwhile fearsome Demon had taken upon himself 
the guise of a comely youth garbed in shining raiment, 
all jewelled and sparkling in the sunlight, who thus 
addressed her: 

" See you, now, my Princess, how thy friends miscall 
and ill-use me! Do but use thy power! Speak but the 
word, ' Be free !' and my fetters shall crumble even at 
the sound of thy voice! And I shall be thy playmate, 
thy slave, and none shall love thee more or serve thee 
better!" 

And Desire was stirred, and the words were spoken, 
and the Prisoner stepped forth, free and untrolled! 

But even on the instant did Desire fail, and her cheek 
blanched, and her limbs became as wax, for the gay 



THE PRINCESS AND THE PRISONER 115 

apparel of the gallant youth fell away, and his form 
changed and took on that of a shaggy beast with ravening 
jaws and eyes like glowing coals and claws that reached 
forth to rend the hapless maid. 

And the Imp fled shrieking her cry of alarm : " The 
Fire-Demon hath broken forth and devoured the Prin- 
cess!" And the servants and men-at-arms trembled, 
fearing the power of the Demon and the wrath of the 
King. 

And Air sped to the rescue of his beloved mistress, 
but his coming did the more enrage the Devourer, and 
he swelled in his wrath and rushed furiously on his 
destroying way. And Water valiantly threw himself in 
the Demon's path, but was swept aside as so much vapor. 
And Earth interposed his lusty body to stay the 
Destroyer, but he, too, was overthrown and trampled to 
dust. 

And the Demon-form waxed and grew mightily, and 
the lust of destruction increased with each new victim 
fed to the hungry jaws. And the Destroyer spared 
neither castle nor cot, nor man nor maid, nor any living 
thing, and the Sunny Land became an ashen waste and 
passed from the knowledge of men. 

Now, by reason of there being naught left to feed 
upon, the rage of the Destroyer waned and his strength 
left him, and he was again taken and confined by the 
peoples within whose borders he came, and the place of 
his passing they called Devastation. 

And when the candles are lit. and the logs blaze on the 
hearth the granddam tells her frighted nurselings the fate- 
ful tale of Heedless Desire who wrought such woe ; and 
the long-lost Princess of the vanished Land of Heart's 
Delight is called by the folk even to this day, "The 
Child Who Played With Fire." 



Il6 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



As the Sparks Fly Upward. 

DEAR OLD FRIEND, You will receive with this, together 
with other more substantial evidence of my confidence 
and love, from my Executors, at such time as they may 
be called upon in the course of Nature and Providence 
to assume their duties, a package of old newspaper clip- 
pings and letters carefully numbered and arranged in 
ordered sequence by myself up to the point where neces- 
sarily another hand must intervene and write " Finis " 
for me. I greatly underrate your discerning sense of 
copy-values if you do not find therein good material 
capable of effective use merely as fiction illustrative of 
the age-old truth that " man is born to trouble." If, 
however, you approve of my second thought that the 
simple presentation of the writers' own words carefully 
edited as to names, places and dates would better serve, 
you will please so decide. Either way, it will be to the 
curious reader merely a passing revelation of the work- 
ings of the human heart beneath the surface-seeming of 
human life ; but, carefully disguise it as you may, my 
hope is that the informed few may read between the 
lines, learn the exact truth, and accord long-deferred 
vindication, not alone of me, but of that dearer other- 
self who only waits my coming to consummate a never- 
ending spirit-union. 

" What a wounded name 

Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me? 
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, 
Absent thee from felicity awhile, 
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, 
To tell my story." 

Affectionately yours, 
GEOFFREY CHRIGHDON. 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 117 

I. 

MARRIED. 

GILDERSON. WINSCOMBE In this city, on the 3Oth 
of June, at St. Saviour's Church, by the Rector 
of the Parish, James Gilderson to Alicia Wins- 
combe. 



II. 

PERSONALS. 

As briefly announced in another column, one of the 
most brilliant social functions which the venerable walls 
of our fashionable church edifice have ever witnessed 
took place this afternoon, when the eminent banker, 
James Gilderson, was united in marriage to the beautiful 
and talented Miss Winscombe, so well known in educa- 
tional circles as one of the ablest of the teaching staff 
of our justly renowned Collegiate Institute. The church 
was profusely but tastefully decorated with the highest 
skill of the florist's art, and rich crimson carpets were 
spread beneatb the awning erected from the church door 
to the street. Faultlessly attired young gentlemen ush- 
ered the hundreds of immaculately gowned guests to the 
portion of the sacred edifice set apart for them and 
marked off by white satin ribbons festooned with mar- 
guerites, beyond which an interested gathering of the 
uninvited, who dearly love to witness such spectacles, 
more or less decorously pressed and jostled for com- 
manding positions. Needless to say, the bride looked 
charming, attired as she was in a dainty, tailor-made 
going-away gown of fawn-colored drap de chameau, 
with Alpine felt hat and plumes to match. She was 
attended only by one bridesmaid, a colleague in educa- 
tional work. The bride being an orphan, and in the 



Il8 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

absence of any near relatives, she was given away by the 
Principal of the Institute. The groom's cousin attended 
him as best man. There was no reception, the happy 
pair leaving at once by the afternoon train for a short 
honeymoon sojourn among the mountains, whence they 
return to the handsome residence newly bought and 
richly furnished by the proud owner for his adored bride 
on the Crescent, overlooking the Park. From one of the 
privileged few who have been permitted to see them we 
learn that the presents are unusually numerous, elegant 
and costly, the groom's being some specially choice 
jewels and substantial settlements of, we understand, 
large figures. The June sun probably never smiled upon 
a marriage which promised so much of happiness to a 
couple dowered with wealth, position, friends, and all 
that makes for joy in life and each other. Rumor has 
it, however, that there was one absent guest in the per- 
son of a prominent young professional man who could 
not bear to look upon so much happiness through 
another's eyes, but rumor is not clear as to whether it 
was some fatal hesitancy which allowed so dear a prize 
to escape, or a willingness on the part of the lovely cap- 
tive to be snared by the enticing allurements of that 
gilded dovecote on the Crescent and its rich faring. We, 
however, leave such trifling to the gossips, and add our 
own bon voyage to the general acclaim. Evening 
Chronicle. 

III. 

YELLOW JOURNALISM. 

To the responsible editor of the respectable news- 
paper the problem of the growing tendency towards sen- 
sationalism in the journals of the day presses with ever- 
increasing persistency. Why this craving, this lack of 
the sense of proportion which magnifies the unimportant 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 119 

happenings of some cross-roads hamlet into "good copy " 
demanding large and preferred space with display head- 
ings and leaded type, while an item of news affecting the 
world's history is dismissed with a few lines in^a corner 
of an inside page? Is the multifold, many-columned 
sheet, with its poster advertisements and cheap padding, 
really the final attainment of evolution in newspaperdom, 
and the convenient pocket edition, with judiciously com- 
piled news, carefully selected literature, ably edited 
leaders and rigorously censored advertisements, still the 
unattainable ideal of a few visionaries? For the honor 
of the craft we are inclined to the belief that a vitiated 
public taste has forced the editorial hand to dispense a 
pabulum, consonant with the depraved appetite of undis- 
cerning readers. But does the duty of the conductors 
of our newspapers end here, and have they no respon- 
sibility in the matter of educating their public up 
to a higher standard of mental aliment by refusing to 
supply unwholesome nutriment? What utter trivialities 
are printed even in presumably influential journals of 
wide circulation, fitting, possibly, the columns of a vil- 
lage paper, but surely beneath the notice of a metro- 
politan press ! What back-stair methods are adopted to 
pry among card-receivers and luggage labels to obtain 
information as to the arrival and departure of guests ! 
What subornation of menials to wink at surreptitious 
peering among the gifts of friendship on the occasion of 
a marriage, and what tradesman-technique is lavished 
in description of the toilets of invited guests at the cere- 
mony so unblushingly intruded upon! We go no far- 
ther than the pages of an evening contemporary's last 
issue for illustration of our point, but were this all we 
might well leave the matter to be settled between the edi- 
tor and his readers. When, however, triviality becomes 
personality, and gossip is fanned by the breath of scandal 



120 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

to blast reputations, we should fail in our duty if we 
kept silent. It is, perhaps, too much to hope that the 
thought of giving needless pain should weigh in check- 
ing the slanderous impulse behind such venomed pens. 
We can only say, on the best authority, that the imputa- 
tion so shamefully put upon three most estimable people 
is grossly impertinent, wholly unjustifiable and entirely 
false. Morning Transcript. 



IV. 

July loth, 1 8**. 

DEAR MRS. GILDERSON, May I claim the privilege of 
an old friend and offer my heartiest felicitations upon 
your marriage, with all good wishes for united happiness 
in the new relationship? I have been knocking about a 
good deal of late and the cards have only just reached 
me, together with the Chronicle's report of the happy 
event. Need I say how deeply I sympathize with the 
pain such despicable allusions must have caused you and 
your worthy husband? The Transcript's dressing down 
was deservedly emphatic, but, alas ! the futility of attack- 
ing such insects with a sledge-hammer. 

Faithfully yours, 

GEOFFREY CHRIGHDON. 
Mrs. James Gilderson. 



V. 

5 The Crescent, July 2Oth, 18**. 

DEAR MR. CHRIGHDON, I find your kind note of loth 
awaiting me here on our return. Of course you may. 
Good wishes and old friends are highly valued, and my 
husband and I are thankful for the large measure of 
them with which we are blessed. Indeed, we wondered 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 121 

why you did not present both in person, till your note 
explained. 

I did not see the newspaper comment you speak of, 
and cannot now procure the numbers. It is quite unim- 
portant, but if you should chance to have them I'm 
curious to see the clippings. 

Sincerely yours, 

ALICIA GILDERSON. 

P.S. The uncertainty of your changing address 
makes me fear that perhaps you did not get my note 
thanking you for your beautiful gift. It is so charac- 
teristically tasteful and altogether unique that I want to 
make sure you shall know how much we both admire 
and value it. A. G. 

Mr. Geoffrey Chrighdon. 



VI. 

August 5th, 18**. 

DEAR MRS. GILDERSON, The misadventure of not get- 
ting your acknowledgment of my little remembrance 
is amply compensated for in the charming little P.S. to 
your note of 2oth ult., which just catches me as I make 
another jump. If my trifling gift serves occasionally 
to remind you of one old friend and well-wisher, the 
little trouble I have taken in selecting it but adds to my 
pleasure in knowing that you like and approve my 
choice. 

As to the clippings, had I thought for a moment that 
you had so happily escaped, you may be sure of my 
silence. I would spare you now, but as your wish is 
a command I promptly, if doubtfully, comply in sending 
them to you. Faithfully yours, 

GEOFFREY CHRIGHDON. 

Mrs. Tames Gilderson. 



122 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

VII. 

5 The Crescent, Sept. isth, 18**. 
MY DEAR MR. CHRIGHDON, I've tried a dozen times 
to answer your letter, but the bitter shame of such cruel 
imputations has stifled coherent thought and brought 
only tears. Even now I fear I cannot connectedly ex- 
press what I want to say, but I must write. " What 
enemy hath done this?" Who could be so wicked as 
to think and say that I took my kind and gener- 
ous husband for what he had, not what he was? 
for that's what it means. God and my own heart, 
at least, know how false the base insinuation is. 
The pity of it is that I cannot bear the pain alone, 
but another must be dragged in to suffer with me, 
as I know you do, for I don't pretend to hide from 
myself that it's you the wretch strikes at. I made 
no attempt to conceal the pleasure I took in the frank 
and sympathetic relations of the old days, the delightful 
talks on books, art, music, and what not, but confess to 
a slight shock to my amour propre when all this came 
so unaccountably to an end. You were satisfied, I was 
content, and the world seemed altogether a pleasant 
place and your friendship one of its rarest gifts. Then 
my husband came. I admired his manly character he 
idolized me. He claimed me for his mate. I gladly 
yielded. We were married. We're happily man and 
wife. A simple enough story even commonplace and 
to think that a romancing penny-a-liner should distort 
it into the vile slander that having been slighted by you 
I hurried into a loveless, mercenary marriage ! Oh ! the 
cruel lie and the shame of it and how impotent we 
are! Unless no, I'll not forestall your instinctive im- 
pulse. My husband will be glad to know you, and I 
well, I've not quite forgotten the old days. There ! I've 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 123 

said it, after all, begged a renewal of our friendship! 
Tf too unseemly, pray forgive, acquit if you can, and 
forget if you will. 

Very sincerely yours, 

AUCIA GlU>ERSON. 

Mr. Geoffrey Chrighdon. 



VIII. 

Dec. 20th, 18**. 

MY DEAR MRS. GILDERSON, The coming season of 
general good-will reminds me of my seeming indiffer- 
ence to the evidence that your own still exists for me. 
I say " seeming " advisedly, for your pain has lain 
heavily upon me, but I felt as helpless to relieve it as I 
was grieved to be the innocent cause of it ; and I trusted 
to the cure of the great healer, Time. Slander, like the 
other Great Slayer, ever loves a shining mark, but, unlike 
the other, is foiled by a brave determination to live it 
down, and in this you have my warmest sympathy. As 
to my share of it, pray do as I have done, dismiss it 
utterly as wholly unimportant and unworthy of a mo- 
ment's thought. 

It's very comforting to me to feel that even an old, 
battered link is not disdained when friendship would 
weld new chains, and I'm altogether grateful for the 
proffered welcome you surely did not think / had for- 
gotten the " old days " but this pleasure lies still in the 
future. Just now I'm revelling in the unexpected real- 
ization of many dreams in extended travel which is 
likely to be prolonged indefinitely. This is made pos- 
sible by the very considerable inheritance left me by my 
uncle, as you may have heard, but the fly in my cup is 



124 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

the thought that no congenial friend shares with me in 
tasting its brimming delight. 

Very faithfully yours, 

GEOFFREY CHRIGHDON. 
Mrs. James Gilderson. 



IX. 

5 The Crescent, March 25th, i8* :;: . 
MY DEAR MR. CHRIGHDON, What an age it seems 
six months, at least since my outbreak of epistolary 
hysterics over that silly scribbler's drivel. Your Time- 
cure is effectual. The incident was forgotten by others 
before I had fairly begun to test the treatment " absent 
treatment," or " painless extraction," perhaps in com- 
bination whatever the process, it is not unpleasant and 
the result is eminently satisfactory. You would think 
so, too, if you could see me as I am, and not as my fool- 
ish letter may have pictured me balls, opera, theatre, 
and the rest of indoor and outdoor winter gaieties, a 
perfect whirl. Even my modest attempts at a quiet 
weekly " at home " have attracted the notice of our pen- 
cil-pushing friends and are duly chronicled among " So- 
ciety's Doings " " brilliant bedazzling of beauty and 
brain " one alliterative artist characterized what he was 
also pleased to style my " rehabilitation of the Salon." 
Oh, I'm doing famously I have " honor, love, obedience, 
troops of friends," and a generous husband who humors 
even my whims. What more should one ask? What I 
intended at the beginning, however, was to heartily con- 
gratulate you upon your splendid good luck unexpected, 
I judge of which I had not heard. I should, of course, 
commiserate you in the loneliness of your rambles did 
I and you not know how many charming mates wait 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 125 

only your word to share your good fortune and better 
companionship on your present voyaging, and the further 
journeying beyond. My husband speaks sometimes of 
" doing the grand tour," and I, too, confess to a long- 
cherished hope of wide travel under ideal conditions. 
But, heigh-ho! business ties and social claims are very 
binding, and the dream is still a dream. 

I hope that the end of your jaunt is in sight and that 
you soon turn homewards to redeem your quasi-promise 
to fit that missing link in friendship's chain. Should 
this be too long delayed, I shall come to think that you 
fear to see ghosts at our hearth-stone and seek excuse 
to cover retreat. For your comfort let me say that mem- 
ories do not feed the flame of our up-to-date asbestos 
gas-logs turn the key and the supply of fuel is checked, 
and there are no ashes. 

Very sincerely yours, 

ALICIA GILDERSON. 

Mr. Geoffrey Chrighdon. 



X. 

April zoth, 18**. 

MY DEAR MRS. GILDERSON, Your note of the 25th 
last has just reached me, and I hasten to congratulate 
you upon the complete success attendant on your efforts 
to achieve deserved social triumphs and to forget. 

How truly modern, these dust-proof, polished hearth- 
stones surely are, and how I envy your possession of 
such convenient facilities for regulating the fuel by sim- 
ply turning a key ! 

I regret, however, that any lingering hope of basking 
in the warmth of your welcoming fireplace so delight- 
fully swept and garnished must be finally put away, 



126 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER , 

inasmuch as I now realize that the large interests of my 
late uncle in this industrial centre will necessitate my 
taking up permanent residence out here, where, indeed, 
I am already established in active supervision. 

With all good wishes for your continued happiness 
and compelling sway, believe me, 

Dear Mrs. Gilderson, 

Very faithfully yours, 

GEOFFREY CHRIGHDON. 
Mrs. James Gilderson. 



XL 

5 The Crescent, June 5th, 18**. 

MY DEAR MR. CHRIGHDON, Is it the reaction from 
the excitement of an unusually gay season, the premoni- 
tory signs of summer heat-waves, or must I compliment 
you by including among the contributary causes the 
studied phrasing of your last letter? I'm not ill, neither 
am I wholly well. I've seemingly everything heart can 
desire, yet, alack ! I feel a lack. I had counted on hav- 
ing you with us to celebrate quietly en famille the first 
anniversary of our wedding, and now you show me that 
the ties attaching you here are finally severed! 

Of course, I'm heartily glad that Fate has dealt so 
kindly with you, but am also a little piqued at the evi- 
dent complacency with which you regard the situation. 
I suppose those " large interests " will sometimes neces- 
sitate your presence elsewhere? They might, indeed, 
impel you in this direction, and it would be only civil to 
look us up we'll let pass the omission to say you might 
be pleased to do so. There ! there ! such a pother about 
a trifle! Looks a little bitter, too, doesn't it? But you 
know woman always wants most that which she is flatly 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 127 

denied. And, then, you deserve proper rebuke you 
know you do for effecting such craven retreat in face 
of so palpable an opening. I looked to a continuance 
of our friendship as possible and pleasant, not to be 
so lightly contemned. Indeed, having read your letter 
again at this point, I'm surprised that I do not, in diplo- 
matic phrase, " consider the incident closed." Feminine 
perversity, no doubt, impels me instead to beg frank dis- 
closure of what you plainly hold back, so that I may read 
between the lines. 

Very sincerely yours, 

ALICIA GILDERSON. 
Mr. Geoffrey Chrighdon. 



XII. 

July, 18**. 

MY DEAR MRS. GILDERSON, Your letter should have 
had earlier answer, and my belated congratulations upon 
your wedding anniversary may now appear untimely, 
but you may believe them, nevertheless, sincere, and 
gather from what I shall try, as calmly as possible, to 
say some extenuation for the delay in making the 
attempt. If I offend in being too frank I can only plead 
your own implied wish that the " disclosure " you urge 
should be wholly unreserved, and accept it as a command 
to break a self-imposed silence. 

It was not needful that you should remind me of the 
" old days," days when we were merely frank comrades, 
and later days when we had grown to be assured friends 
it was " Alicia " and " Geoffrey " then, you'll remem- 
ber for they are part of me and cannot be erased from 
memory. I, too, can recall the charmingly uncon- 
strained way in which we revelled together in the 
delights of opera and play, discussed pictures, books and 



128 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

music, exchanged opinions on old philosophies and cur- 
rent events, or merely indulged in " wit combats " of 
playful badinage. Indeed, no; rather do I live again 
in the dear " old days " when we drifted along so plea- 
santly without a thought of the rough water beyond. I 
could see your heart-whole content still to drift, but / 
feared to face the rude awakening when Love should 
claim his pilot right. I shut my eyes to his signals, but 
he would not be denied and clamored to be taken in. 
I paltered and compromised for a stowaway passage. 
He became turbulent and insistent. I saw a happy 
haven ahead for you. I ran away, and took the dis- 
turber with me ! Rather fancifully put, perhaps, but you 
see you shot better than you aimed when you launched 
your shaft of " cowardly retreat," unthinking of its swift 
and sure flight to the centre. By what right, I argued, 
had I, a poor engineer with little pay and only a large 
love, to be " philandering " longer when, mayhap, better 
men with ampler store and a greater love were waiting 
to lay all at your feet? Honor impelled me to quit a 
field I might not fairly contest, and I " retreated," bear- 
ing off only my love and my memories. The ideal I had 
imagined for you seemed to be realized in your brilliant 
marriage, and I'm heartily glad you've found it so emi- 
nently satisfying, but this confession will show you the 
futility of thinking there can be any question of " friend- 
ship " between us I have got beyond that, and your love 
is your husband's. 

I put away all dreams of what " might have been " 
had fortune only smiled a little sooner, and you will see 
how unthinkable is your suggestion that I should wed 
when I tell you that the only woman I ever did, do now, 
can, or will love is yourself, and you are another man's 
wife! 

There only remains for me to make the final renuncia- 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 



129 



tion of the bitter-sweet communion of the pen with what 
" complacency " I may. 

Faithfully yours, 

GEOFFREY CHRIGHDON. 
Mrs. James Gilderson. 



XIII. 

MY DEAR , I stumble at the address noun want- 
ing what of one more or less when I want words? 'tis 
well so, let it stand! Excuse pencil and dashes I've 
been very ill your letter typhoid absolute rest en- 
joined insist on writing indulgent nurse friendly 
hand will post. If only strength to finish after that 
nothing matters. Poor, foolish Geoffrey, so blind! 
Poor me ! My husband God pity us all ! I can't think 
my head faint good-bye ! 

AUCIA. 

XIV. 

DEAR ALICIA, For such you surely are, tho', alas! 
' not mine. And yet no, I dare not think it. If 'twere 
so, what terrible mistake has been made ! Write ! write, 
I beg, and let there be no misunderstanding now! Say 
you are better recovering, not dying. You must live 
I will it! And the truth exact and plain let us face 
it! The broken music of your swan-song is torture. 
Give me the key to transpose discord into harmony. Is 
it true ? Was I so blind a fool ? " No matter !" rather 
say everything " matters " ; only to the fearful know- 
ledge comes too late. We must know before we can 
readjust; therefore write, and quickly, and stay this 
gnawing hunger! GEOFFREY. 

9 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

XV. 

5 The Crescent, November, 18**. 
MY DEAR GEOFFREY, Tearful joy happy sorrow 
sweet pain glad shame what strange mingling soever 
there be there's no uncertainty. The truth I sought 
to hide will not down I see it I admit it why not 
say it ? Yes, you are indeed " my dear Geoffrey," by 
your own confession and my love's warrant. And cold 
convention will say we sin even in thinking so! How 
the demons who set us playing at cross purposes must 
have laughed when that same cruel convention kept back 
the word you might have spoken and tied my tongue! 
You wore your mask so gaily, too, and I, alas! surely 
" dissembled well." My poor disguise hid even from 
you the thinly veiled truth I feared to own, yet hoped 
you might see. A brave show of defence only masking 
intention of glad surrender and you " retreated " ! 
Yet the fealty I swore to another was honestly vowed 
and loyally yielded. Why brood among shadows when 
here were Love's enduring verities? Yes, my marriage 
was " honorable," and I meant to keep it so, though I 
soon found that what to woman is a consummation 
is to man only an incident. I felt abased before the 
unimagined revealings of the elemental nature of the 
tie. My kind husband proved just a good average man 
of clean instincts, but my soul's ideal was shrined above 
any level of " averages." I submitted to the inevitable 
common lot of woman wedded, and seized what diver- 
sion lay to hand. My husband's large affairs took his 
best thought, and the duties of my position demanded 
attentive care " unequally yoked " we jogged the un- 
even conjugal path. The last remaining ground where 
wedded lives meet in closest touch seemed only to echo 
our unhallowed approach an embrace was profanation 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 131 

and a kiss betrayal. I hid my feelings under a mask 
of gaiety ; my husband " good, easy man " thought 
all was well ; and the world acclaimed a model union. I 
recalled the " old days," and hungered for past confi- 
dences, yet even in my tentative advances there was no 
disloyal thought. I wanted a friend, not a lover I was 
disillusionized of all that is commonly understood in 
such illicit relation and saw nothing incompatible with 
wifely duty in longing yes, unseemly begging for a 
renewal of the frank camaraderie of the " old days." 
Then came the catastrophe of mutual discovery and 
avowal! A few short acts and the curtain falls on the 
denouement of a tragedy! What now to do? This 
agony is killing me ; it nearly did, and surely will unless 
relief shall come. " Readjustment," I think was your 
word. In Love's name find the way to it, and do with 
me as you will. I cannot further brazen this living sin, 
and dare not longer nurse this living lie. Shall I come 
to you? Say but the word and I'm ready to dare all. 
What God has joined let not man keep longer asunder! 
And I want you, oh! I WANT YOU, now, dear love! 
There shall be no dishonor in our embraces ! Must I 
again beg? Then, take me! TAKE MB! for I am 
yours! YOURS! YOURS! ! ! 

ALICIA. 



XVI. 

December, 18**. 

DEAR LOVE, Two little words, yet a world of delight 
in their sweet assurance ! All my world, indeed, matin 
and evensong, Creed and Decalogue, I con them alway, 
and attune them to a new note with every breath ! Your 
letter came like the morning breeze fanning to a blaze 
the banked fires of the smouldering turf and brush of a 



132 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

forest clearing. Oh, for the realization of the ravishing 
dream of your passionate words! To hold you in my 
arms and feel the clinging caress of your own about 
me to know the ecstasy of two souls meeting on trem- 
bling lips and merging in one long kiss to feel the new- 
creative rapture when twain bodies become one flesh 
to prove the parent joy offspringing from the working 
of that eternal law to achieve the ideal that Life is 
Love, and Love is God ah, that were Heaven, here and 
now, if 'twere not a dream, or at best but a vision of 
the hereafter ! Do you start ? Nay, dear heart, at least, 
do not doubt. Can you bear it? Can we? for it must 
be said and faced if we are to " readjust " ourselves to 
new conditions. Even in the great love which has come 
upon us, there are yet considerations of Honor and Duty 
that may not be disregarded, cost what it may of sacri- 
fice and pain. Were I to take you at your dear, impul- 
sive word I should deservedly be branded with blacker 
than Tarquin infamy. Think what shame for you when 
in the calmer moments of cooling passion you saw the 
finger of scorn pointed at you as one forsworn and out- 
cast! Would not your great love then justly turn to 
a greater hate and loathing of me whose strength should 
have protected a weaker even against herself ? We have 
laid bare to one another the deeps of passion so surface- 
calm to outward appearing. With the knowledge that 
a touch, a breath, may wake a sleeping tempest, does it 
not, dear one, seem right that we should forbear to rouse 
the storm-demon even by a look? Ah, dear love, do not 
think it an easy thing for me to say, or to contemplate 
this final severance ! I would " hold thee as a thing 
enskied and sainted " in my soul's holiest recesses, but 
my impulses drive me to you with whirlwind force. 
Help me, then, in this flesh-subduing task of shrining 
Love in Passion's emptied niche transfiguring an idol 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 



133 



into a god. If our earthy bodies must never feel the 
electric thrill of contact, may we not here begin to know 
the fuller joy of telepathic soul-communion, till satisfac- 
tion shall be made complete in the oneness of a long 
eternity? Human law demands the inviolability of the 
marriage tie, but a higher law overrules. We cannot 
evade its enmeshing reach, but we must submit where 
man's writ runs. If duty still constrains to keep the 
wifely vow, yet are you " undefiled." If honor impels 
to yield you to another's arms, it leaves me yet your 
love. Is this too hard a thing for you to bear, dear 
heart, too harsh a repulse of your proffered gift? 
Think, then, of what it means to me to make the great 
refusal a great love demands, and let us try as best we 
can to grope our stumbling way over the intervening) 
years till ending Time shall join converging, stony paths 
in Love's long, enblossomed highway. 

Believe me, dear Love, ever yours, 

GEOFFREY. 



XVII. 

5 The Crescent, May, 18**. 

MY OWN DEAR LOVE, You will, no doubt, have won- 
dered at my long silence, but I've again been very ill, 
and only now feel strong enough even to make the 
attempt to write, so, dear, you must overlook all short- 
comings. I pondered over your loving appeal, and the 
contemplation of the lofty ideal you so nobly presented 
seemed for a time to cool the feverous riot in my blood. 
My reason admitted the unanswerable force of your 
logic, but my heart failed to reach the elevated plane of 
your philosophy. The path of Duty seemed plainly 
marked, but Desire would drive me the other way. I 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

wanted to do right, but I wanted you with unutterable 
longing. My brain seemed giving way, at last my 
body did, and I was laid low. Of course I had every 
care that my husband's purse could command, and he 
himself, they told me, was unremitting in his solicitous 
attention as I lay in my long unconscious state. I can 
from my delirium recall dim recollection of my disem- 
bodied second self one day being projected by some 
strange psychic influence over the distance separating 
us, and I stood by you, touched you, and moved with 
you about your accustomed surroundings which, had I 
the strength, I feel I could accurately describe as I am 
sure they are. You almost seemed conscious of my 
presence, and were, indeed, about to seize me in your 
appealing arms. Then everything seemed to fade away, 
and I awoke to the recognition of attendants standing 
by and assuring me I was " better." Better ! well, dear, 
I was at least spared the further conflict between Duty 
and Desire upon the question of conjugal relations, for 
I have an assured presentiment that I shall never leave 
my invalid bed. Moreover, I take the revelation of my 
vision or whatever it was as a premonition of disaster 
should any attempt be made to realize the illusion of 
our passionate dream. It may be that in my bodily 
weakness my soul's outlook is more clear and unob- 
structed, and while I cannot even now bring myself 
to accept the terrible decree of final earthly severance, I 
have at least ceased to struggle against it, believing at 
last that our course is being ordered by a Power greater 
than our misdirected wills, to which we must inevitably 
bow. I have made a supreme effort, at, I know, a heavy 
cost to my few remaining hours, to write you this my last 
testament, for I am dying, dearest, dying. Having lost 
you I cannot wish to know it otherwise, and I willingly 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 135 

go in the sure hope that the burdened sowing we have 
cast in pain upon the tear-hid, germinating earth shall 
from transforming darkness spring reborn and grow to 
ripened fulness in Heaven's fructifying light, and there 
I wait to reap the harvest with you. Good-bye! dear, 
dear Love, good-bye ! 

Your own 

ALICIA. 



XVIII. 

June, 18**. 

DEAR HEART'S DESIRE, Build cold sacrificial altars 
as we may, lave them with oceans of philosophy as we 
will, the fire descends and all is consumed. In zealot 
blindness I thought my work secure, when your letter-^ 
accounting for my own strange consciousness of an 
unseen visitant came as a torch to set all ablaze. 
" Hang philosophy !" /'// none of it either. Let us 
play the fool no longer! Seize the nearest good! Eat, 
drink, love, for to-morrow we die! To-day is yet ours, 
and you shall live to enjoy it! I will it again! I was 
wrong worse, a fool and you were right! But, right 
or wrong, I'l have my own. If you do not come I'll go 
and take it, despite law of man or God. Throw ideals 
to the pale sisterhoods ! 'Tis you, the flesh and blood 
woman I want! The man in me is awake. Even if it 
be only the alleged animal dormant in our nature, he 
runs amuck and will not be denied. I cannot live longer 
thus cannot even concentrate thought on important 
affairs in this unrest. Therefore, come! or say the 
word which shall bring to you 

Your own 
GEOFFREY. 



1 36 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

XIX. 
DIED. 

GILDERSON In this city, on the 3Oth of June, at No. 5 
The Crescent, Alicia Winscombe, beloved wife of 
James Gilderson, aged 32 years. 

Funeral private. Kindly omit flowers. 



XX. 

EMINENT BANKER'S SAD BEREAVEMENT. 
Sudden Death of Mrs. Gilderson. 

The many friends of Mr. James Gilderson will sym- 
pathize with him in the heavy loss that has come 
upon him in the death of his wife, nee Alicia Wins- 
combe, whose marriage, seemingly promising of long 
happiness, we chronicled but two short years ago. 
The circumstances are rendered peculiarly sad from the 
fact that Mrs. Gilderson of spirituelle rather than 
robust temperament was convalescing from a tedious 
illness of many months' duration, and succumbed to a 
sudden attack of heart failure, which occurred on the 
second anniversary of her wedding. We entirely dis- 
credit the malicious whisperings which, nevertheless, 
are current that the esteemed lady's illness was in any 
way due to the distressingly importunate attentions of a 
once favored suitor. Her character was beyond re- 
proach, and the charmingly harmonious relations pre- 
vailing between a happily mated pair give the lie to any 
ill-conceived questionings. She left no family, and we 
understand that the benevolent and charitable institu- 
tions of the city will benefit through bequests made to 
them from the comfortable fortune settled upon her at 
marriage. Evening Chronicle, 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 137 

XXL 

5 The Crescent, July, 18**. 

SIR, Even to write to such a loathsome thing as you 
brings the shudder of a defiling touch. Repugnant as it 
is, I tell you that I found the enclosed letter crushed in 
my dead wife's fingers when I went to greet her on the 
morning of our wedding anniversary. If your black soul 
has still one spark of conscience burning you will, as I do, 
charge it with the solemn responsibility, for I believe the 
awful shock of reading such damnable words was the 
immediate cause of her death. It may be that the 
accompanying packet, sealed, and addressed to you in 
my wife's handwriting, contains the infamous story of 
your devilish temptation. I have no wish to uncover its 
shame, but, in fulfilment of her implied wish, I throw 
upon you its unknown, dark burden. The legacy of my 
dear, dead wife's unspotted name is my holiest charge. 
You may, therefore, take comfort and safety in knowing 
that the only " satisfaction " I shall take in obliterating 
your fiendish memory is the hope you may never sink so 
low that remorse shall not find and ever follow you with 
its serpent sting. 

JAMES GIUDERSON. 

Geoffrey Chrighdon. 



XXII. 

(Copy.) 

August, 18**. 

SIR,I I do not oppose any argument to your bitter 
invective, neither do I attempt to excuse or explain my 
impetuous words, for without the key you would not 
understand. Others may, when we are but memories 
in their loving keeping, and the packet you send shall be 



138 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

their guide. If I were responsible for the shocking 
catastrophe I should merit even deeper execration. A 
terrible mistake has been made, and you but share in the 
threefold resulting suffering the responsibility we dare 
not try to fix. It may be a hard thing for you to believe, 
but you are the interloper who has come between my own 
and me. The dear bodily form you took to your arms 
and called wife was but lent you for the transient delight 
of a fleeting day, but she was and is ever mine, and the 
day be it near or far when we come to our own, none 
shall question our right. 

Yours, 

GEOFFREY CHRIGHDON. 
James Gilderson, Esq. 



XXIII. 
DIED. 

GILDERSON Suddenly, in this city, on November the 5th, 

James Gilderson, Banker, aged 56 years. 
Funeral will take place from his late residence, 5 The 
Crescent, on Friday, the 8th inst., at 3 p.m. Friends 
will please accept this invitation to attend. 



XXIV. 

SHOCKINGLY SUDDEN SUMMONS III 

DEATH OF PROMINENT CITIZEN I ! 
Mr. James Gilderson Thrown from his Horse and Instantly Killed I 

The whole city is once again called upon to deplore the 
inexplicably sudden appearance among us of the Dread 
Reaper and the swift removal of Mr. James Gilderson 
leaves a gap in the wide circle of personal friends and 



AS? THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 139 

business acquaintances that cannot easily be filled. It 
is but a few weeks ago that we chronicled the death of 
Mr. Gilderson's young wife under the peculiarly distress- 
ing circumstances we then noted. Notwithstanding the 
foundationless character of certain whisperings to which 
we gave emphatic denial these, together with the loss of 
the dearly loved wife with whose fair name these med- 
dlers had been so unwarrantably busy, had preyed upon 
the husband's mind so that his health was endangered. 
He was advised to take to horseback riding as a pallia- 
tive diversion, and it was while so engaged that he met 
his sudden death. It is surmised that the horse, a spir- 
ited animal, took fright at a piece of flying paper some 
careless luncher had left near the bridle-path in the Park 
and that his rider was thrown with sudden violence 
against a tree, where he was found by some passers-by 
quite dead, with his horse standing by the body. As 
announced, the funeral will take place to-morrow, and 
in expression of grief for the city's great loss and the 
sorrowful manner of its happening the attendance is sure 
to be large and sympathetic. 

The late Mr. Gilderson, like his departed wife, had no 
immediate relatives living, and it is an open secret that 
his large heart had been busy with plans for the disposal 
of his wealth whereby the needy of the place where the 
money was made should benefit by it in some practical 
way. We risk the charge of untimeliness in disclosing 
early and authoritative intimation of the shape these 
plans will take. Speaking generally, and awaiting only 
confirming details of the will, we understand that after 
providing liberally for existing charities, the remainder 
of the deceased gentleman's fortune is bequeathed to cer- 
tain named trustees to found and endow a Woman's 
Hospital in memory of the testator's deceased wife. In 
first making this public we take occasion to congratulate 



140 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

a community even while they deplore the loss of the 
living personality that one has lived among us who had 
not only the means but the desire to do such noble deeds, 
and who " being dead yet speaketh," pleading with others 
to emulate his splendid example. Evening Chronicle. 



(i) 
DIED. 

CHRIGHDON, In this city, on June the 3Oth, 190*, Geof- 
frey Chrighdon, aged 53 years. 

Funeral service will be held in St. Clement's Church 
on Friday, the 2nd inst., at 4.30 p.m., after which the 
cortege will proceed to the Union Station, whence 
the body will be taken by the 6.30 Y., Q. & V. train 
for interment at the former home of the deceased. 

Exchanges please copy. 



(2) 
BROUGHT HOME FOR BURIAL. 

Some of our older readers may recall Mr. Geoffrey 
Chrighdon, who as a young man was prominent in the 
best social life of our city some twenty years ago. He 
inherited large wealth from a relative in distant parts, 
and greatly added to it by the careful management of 
those interests in which it was invested when he went 
away years ago to assume them. Large affairs bring 
their cares with them, and though of strong physique 
in youth Mr. Chrighdon aged rapidly in later years. 



AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD 141 

His death took place a few days ago, and his body, by 
his own direction, was brought here for interment in a 
beautiful spot he had acquired in the Cemetery near the 
Gilderson mausoleum. He never married, and his con- 
siderable fortune, after providing liberally for his work- 
people and business managers, is divided among relatives 
and the public institutions of his adopted city, with the 
exception of a personal bequest and certain trust funds 
left to an old friend. This gentleman accompanied the 
body of his friend from his late home and saw it quietly 
interred yesterday in its last resting place. Morning 
Transcript. 



(3) 

PHILANTHROPY AND ROMANCE. 

LARGE BEQUEST FROM UNKNOWN DONOR. 

Woman's Hospital the Fortunate Beneficiary. 

No institution in our city is doing a nobler work 
than the Woman's Hospital, founded some twenty years 
ago by the munificent bequest of James Gilderson in 
memory of his predeceased wife. What was then 
thought an ample endowment is to-day, however, inade- 
quate to meet the urgent demands of the continually 
increasing number of patients seeking admission, and the 
trustees have for some time felt the lack of means to 
efficiently carry out the original benefactor's plans as 
time has enlarged their scope. Most opportunely, there- 
fore, do we make the gratifying announcement that 
there has come to the Board of Governors a large sum 
running, it is said, into six figures through an eminent 
legal firm acting for the unnamed executors of an un- 



1 42 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

known testator! The money is placed unconditionally 
in the hands of the management for use at their discre- 
tion in extending the work and increasing the usefulness 
of this worthy charity. We understand the identity of 
the unknown benefactor has been so closely veiled that 
the trustees have given up all thought of trying to dis- 
cover it. They decide, therefore, to loyally respect the 
testator's wish in the matter, and in deep gratitude will 
set about perfecting plans to carry out the intent of his 
bequest. Evening Chronicle. 



NOTE BY THE EDITOR. 

It has merely been thought necessary to supplement 
the author's own numbered chronicle with the three clip- 
pings from papers printed since his death, and it does 
not appear needful to change the character of the record 
or to add thereto any word of comment. The discern- 
ing reader will amplify and expand to his liking, but he 
is reminded that he is dealing with events of a long-for- 
gotten past, and that the clues by which he might seek 
to identify the actors in this sad drama of passion are 
buried with them. 



AFTER MANY DAYS 143 



After Many Days. 

IT was the Twelfth of July, day of glorious past mem- 
ory and present inquietude, and the old town was having, 
colloquially speaking, as hot a time as the contending 
forces are said, in story and song, to have had by the 
shores of Boyne water long ago. 

In the office of The Courier things, from the Chief to 
the ticker, were actually humming under stress of hurry- 
ing events which were making history and bringing 
grist to the journalistic mill. The notes of the Chief's 
hum took on a decidedly bass tone, not to say growl, 
and the impatient staccato of the ticker emphasized the 
public clamor for news which the subordinate parts of 
the human machinery and the clanking presses of the 
great paper echoed in unison, and the burden of it all 
was hustle! 

We had indeed need to hurry to catch up with the 
moving events which dealt with safety of armies, destruc- 
tion of fleets and the fate of nations, all crowded into a 
few swift weeks, and each following so rapidly on the 
other that news became stale almost before the wires 
which brought the first were cleared for the second item. 

The live reporter and The Courier has little use for 
any other was having his innings. Space allowance 
was generous, and the blue pencil sparing of exercise 
in face of the continuous call for extras. I had shown 
some of the quality dear to the Chief's heart on one or 
two occasions, and had been specially detailed by him 
to follow the movements of the two distinguished Span- 
ish gentlemen who had suddenly felt called upon to leave 
Washington and seek a cooler residence in Montreal, 
though neither the thermometer nor the culmination o 



144 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

circumstances on this particular day would seem to jus- 
tify their choice of asylum. 

It is not necessary to retrace my steps over the trail 
made by these erratic wayfarers -are they not written 
in the chronicles of The Courier file of 1898, stored away 
with many, many more, dust-covered and century-old? 
suffice it to say that diplomatic correspondence resulting 
from the publication of the Carranza letter had culmin- 
ated in a semi-official intimation from the Canadian Gov- 
ernment to the Spaniards' lawyer that the departure of 
Senor Du Bosc and Lieut. Carranza would add to the 
Government's pleasure and his clients' comfort. The 
war was practically decided and over; the heat was 
awful ; the clamor for extras easing off ; I was tired ; 
a long-deferred run up the Saguenay looked particularly 
inviting; and as I stretched my coatless arms and 
mopped my dripping face I wondered how the Chief 
would take a suggestion for four days off if I proffered 
it now, when a mesenger boy flung himself into my den 
and his message on my desk, which read : 

" DEAR AHERN, Du Bosc and Carranza are booked by 
S.S. Ottoman. It is understood they go on board 
to-night and sail at daylight, and we will know if they do. 
Take the Quebec boat at seven; meet the steamer on 
arrival; assure yourself that they leave that port on 
their ocean voyage, and wire us a column story. Yours, 

" HAMILTON." 

I was sick of the Spanish name and belongings, and I 
said in my haste much that I will not repeat in my writ- 
ing leisure. But orders are orders in a newspaper office, 
as elsewhere, and I prepared to obey in the short time 
allowed. I glanced at the accompanying draft on the 
cashier and was surprised at the liberal allowance given 



AFTER MANY DAYS 145 

me for expenses on such a flying trip, when my eye 
caught the following lines I had overlooked in my un- 
seemly haste: 

" P.S. Accuracy of information rather than parsi- 
mony. Don't skimp in time or expense. If you get 
through satisfactorily and quickly you might catch the 
Saguenay boat on Friday and bring us back something 
interesting on Monday morning. " H." 

Dear old boy! Of course I saw through the trans- 
parent excuse to afford me the little outing he knew 
would brace me up after my long and tedious assignment, 
but I made up my mind I would give him a new 
Saguenay-trip story if I had to invent one, and was rush- 
ing off to tell him so when I ran plump into my friend, 
Sidney Pangborn, whom I had last seen, in working 
togs, high up among the spider-web girders of the Vic- 
toria Bridge, whose reconstruction he was superintend- 
ing as engineer in charge. 

The unexpected visit and natty straw hat and tweeds 
were readily accounted for in the hurriedly given explan- 
ations : sudden stoppage of certain supplies work well 
advanced and plain sailing for a few days Saguenay 
trip just fitting in wouldn't I drop things and come 
along back for work Monday morning? 

Would an editor decline good copy tendered gratis? 
And didn't I thank my lucky star for the fortunate 
chance of such congenial company? And would the 
company rest itself for a moment while I said my delayed 
word of farewell and thanks to my providence in the 
Chief's sanctum? It would, of course, and also allow 
sufficient time to pack a bag, secure staterooms and buy 
tickets, as incidentally useful accompaniments. 

We boarded the steamer at the Richelieu pier in time 
10 



146 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

to study the moving scene and the tanned faces of the 
through passengers being transferred from the three 
almost simultaneously arriving boats of the Ottawa and 
St. Lawrence routes, and were off and gliding smoothly 
down the swift current before the sun was lost behind 
the looming bulk of old Mount Royal. History flashed 
by and receded as the Present steamed past domain and 
cote bearing names once writ large as their owners made 
its scroll: Longueuil, La Valtrie, Vercheres, Varennes, 
Contrecoeur, Sorel, Berthier, and others of the camp and 
court ; Laval and Richelieu, of the cult which dominated 
both ; Champlain and Drummond, of the long line of 
viceroys who upheld their masters' sway at the council 
board; Montcalm and Wolfe, who fought for the 
supremacy of theirs, and won and lost an empire on the 
field. Thought travelled swiftly over the years since 
Cartier first beat slowly up the highway we were now 
speeding down, taking possession of the Red Man's heri- 
tage for a royal master whose sons weakly let it slip 
into the eager hands of a stronger power able and will- 
ing to develop it and train its old retainers in newer and 
better ways, even yet not fully understood by a people 
whose aspirations for liberty under constitutional gov- 
ernment are biased by the enervating shadow of paternal- 
ism or thwarted by the chill clutch of the centuries-old 
dead hand. A complex problem and a long story, that 
of the evolution of the old French stronghold of the 
Province of Quebec into a contented unit of a homo- 
geneous Confederation. Possibly the dream of a 
" French Republic on the banks of the St. Lawrence " 
still lingers in some hearts unheeding of the irresistible 
teaching of a fait accompli; doubtless a few nurse dark 
thoughts of a revanche which shall one day overwhelm 
unloved compatriots who, if not utterly indifferent, are 
wholly uncomprehending of such unpractical musings. 



AFTER MANY DA YS 147 

They are even content to watch petty clerkships in the 
Civil Service being seized by the conspirators while pur- 
suing more remunerative ways as captains of industry, 
but make the mistake of leaving the leadership of voters 
to those who will use the power to their rivals' hurt. 

" Speaking of Indians," here broke in my companion, 
though as a matter of fact we had not mentioned them, 
" that reminds me " 

" Good story, no doubt, and I'll take it for copy when 
I get these Spaniards off my hands. Try the Cubans 
in the meantime," and I passed him my cigar case," then 
we'll turn in." 

We were up early next morning to enjoy the ever-new 
run in to Quebec between the high banks on either side 
where contending armies camped and watched each 
other a century and a half ago. Passing the lumber 
coves and the bluff where one climbed to the other's 
undoing, noting the spot marking the fate of the leader 
of a third when he attempted to dislodge the victor from 
the heights his prowess had won, and making a final 
sweep by the Levis shore across the harbor to our land- 
ing under the citadel of Quebec. 

Hurrying through the vociferous, gesticulating, jost- 
ling throng of waiting " carters," we hailed a caleche, 
whose stout nag and stimulating Sid thought stimu- 
lated driver soon landed us in the quaint courtyard of 
the Chateau Frontenac, of commanding outlook, com- 
modious appointment and corresponding charge. 

We had seated ourselves at one of the small tables 
by the bay window which overlooks the broad expanse 
of river gemmed by the Isle of Orleans and framed by 
the Laurentian Hills on the north and the highlands to 
the south, and were proceeding to scrutinize the break- 
fast menu, when we noticed a distinguished looking man 
being ushered to a seat at a table adjoining our own. 



148 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

There was nothing obtrusive in his conventional attire, 
which was that of an ordinary summer tourist, but his 
easy bearing, commanding presence, bronzed full face, 
grey hair, moustache and imperial, and the clear eyes 
which nonchalantly observe and take in everything would 
attract attention in any assembly. He glanced swiftly 
in my direction in passing and was soon engaged in 
making his selection from the items on the menu, which 
he did with quiet deliberation, then unfolded the morning 
paper and was apparently at once absorbed in the news. 
Though I feared the eyes were reading my thoughts 
through the back of my head, and fancied the ears might 
also allow nothing to escape, I couldn't resist remarking 
to Sid in a half-voice, with a faintly indicating backward 
nod: 

" Proper figure of a man, that !" 

" Noticeably so." 

" American, of course." 

" Southern, too, I judge." 

" Military, you observe." 

" Business or pleasure ?" 

"Neither or rather, both." 

"As how?" 

" U. S. Secret Service." 

" Nonsense !" 

" Prove it to you later ah ! here's breakfast." 

This we made a prompt beginning upon and proceeded 
to leisurely finish. Leaving our neighbor apparently 
oblivious to all about him save his newspaper, rolls and 
coffee, we sauntered out on the terrace to enjoy our 
cigars in the glorious river breeze and make plans for 
the day which intervened before I could attack the com- 
mission with which I was charged. 

" Curious guess, that of yours about our military 
friend yonder," remarked Sid, as we walked along. 



AFTER MANY DA YS 149 

" Lucky intuition, anyway, as it assures me our birds 
are safely caged for the present." 

" Explain, dear boy." 

" Didn't you see him strolling about the boat and 
standing on the wharf as we moved off last night?" 

" Impossible, when he's finishing his breakfast in the 
Chateau Frontenac, Quebec, at this moment!" 

" You forget there are late trains ' 

" Go on ! guess again and tell me." 

" I now see clearly that our friend whom I observed 
sauntering up and down the pier and took to be merely 
someone seeing friends off, had other departures in 
mind none other than the same unwelcome guests to 
whom I am now charged to bid adieu. He satisfied him- 
self they did not leave surreptitiously by our boat for 
some unknown destination; then, no doubt, saw them 
aboard the Ottoman and safe abed for the night before 
he took the midnight train, which set him down in time 
to join us at breakfast. He will meet the ship this even- 
ing, as I shall do ; and, if there is no delay, and our 
charges are still aboard, we shall have the pleasure of 
waving farewell as the ship swings out into the stream 
at daylight to-morrow morning, and wiring a simul- 
taneous story to our respective Chiefs immediately there- 
after. You will by that time have waked up and got 
aboard the Saguenay, where I shall meet you in time for 
breakfast, and our friend will probably have taken the 
morning train for Washington via Montreal. Thus you 
see how in the journalistic school apt pupils learn that 
four can be made by adding two and two together." 

We discussed plans for the day and carried them out 
in ordinary tourist fashion : sifted the few good pictures 
from among the mass of commonplace in the Laval gal- 
lery, the Basilica, and the chapel of Notre Dame des 
Victoires ; paid homage to the stores of garnered relics 



150 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

of saints in all three places Sid irreverently remarking 
that Quebec was undoubtedly " ' long ' on ' bones ' " ; 
strolled through the legislative halls, where the stirring 
affairs of a living present elbow the shades of a dead 
past into their neglected limbo; enjoyed the unparalleled 
view from the King's Bastion of the Citadel, where the 
symbol of world-wide Empire floats over all and flings 
its challenge to the northern breeze ; followed the charm- 
ing drive up the St. Charles valley and back along the 
heights where armies met and mighty heroes fell ; and 
finally brought up at our castellated inn just as the fun- 
nels of the Ottoman were seen coming down the long 
reach by the coves, each spar and rope and bit of bur- 
nished metal lit with the golden glint of the fast sinking 
sun. 

I swallowed a hasty snack at the lunch counter, enjoin- 
ing Sid to make himself comfortable and carry out the 
programme of meeting me at breakfast on the Saguenay 
if I did not turn up sooner, and hurried down to the 
wharf, only to find our military friend there before me, 
quietly smoking and indifferently watching the proceed- 
ings as a casual spectator. I do not intend to retell here 
the column story I wired to The Courier ten hours later, 
and will only say that not for one moment of the time 
did I lose the trail of the Spaniards, either on board the 
ship or ashore on the various calls they made, till I saw 
them safe in their staterooms for the night and the ship 
finally start on her seven days' voyage, and always in 
sight, at a discreet distance, the imperturbable Unknown, 
looking as if his sole business was the enjoyment of his 
fragrant cigar. 

I wrote up my story, filed it with the telegraph opera- 
tor, and got down to the Saguenay boat in time to meet 
Sid coming aboard with our combined belongings, feel- 
ing little the worse for my all-night vigil, but greatly in 



AFTER MANY DAYS 151 

need of the long-delayed meal, which we were both soon 
enjoying while the boat swept by the wooded shores of 
the Isle of Orleans. Imagine my surprise, not to, say 
consternation, when, as I was about to attack a nicely 
cooked chop, in walked what I had now come to regard 
as my shadow, and took a seat at our table opposite to 
me, cool, unnoticing, and indifferent to all but the excel- 
lent breakfast, for which he had evidently as appreciative 
an appetite as I myself had. Though knowing well that 
the pleasures of the trip were open to the purse of any 
travelling gentleman so inclined, I was beginning to feel 
uneasy under this Shadow of the Unknown, and soon 
sought the bracing salt air on deck and the consolations 
of a cigar and my friend Sid. We had just taken chairs 
in a cosy corner of the deck when the stranger walked 
up, drew another alongside ours and, smiling affably, 
said: 

"Mr. Ahern, I believe?" 

" Jack Ahern, of The Courier, at your service, 
Colonel." 

He started slightly at this chance shot, but recovering 
quickly smiled back : 

" Ah ! the acquaintance is mutual ?" 

" No, merely drew a venturesome journalistic bow," 
I returned; and ignoring the stranger's reservation of 
his identity, added : " but let me introduce my friend, 
Sidney Pangborn, the chief reliance and stay of the 
engineering staff of our great railway." 

The stranger bowed gravely, and turning to me said, 
seriously : 

" Mr. Ahern, I have to thank you for more than you 
know. Your journalistic scent has unerringly led you 
on a long trail, and I have, all unknown to you, merely 
had to follow your lead on many a twist and turn of it 
to my own advantage and my superiors' complete satis- 



152 



AT THE SfGN OF THE BEAVER 



faction respecting the little matter we have both got off 
our hands. Let us, if you please, dismiss all further 
thought of it and give ourselves up to the enjoyment of 
this, the most pleasant jaunt your charming country 
affords." 

It was just in this care- free spirit that we had our- 
selves planned to enjoy our own little outing, and as the 
day wore on we congratulated ourselves on having fallen 
in with such a companionable " chance acquaintance," 
whose knowledge of the country surprised us in a stran- 
ger, and whose knowledge of and discourse upon the 
wider world of men, books and affairs were a continual 
charm. He had never been over the route, but had 
retraced " Their Wedding Journey " with the author, 
whom he. knew well ; and as we passed in succession 
Murray Bay and Riviere du Loup, and drew within sight 
of the mounds of Tadousac, he told us of snowshoe hunt- 
ing tramps in winter and trouting excursions in the sum- 
mer woods in company with the versatile author of the 
thrilling Saguenay tale of the " Doom of Mamelons," 
based on a legend attaching to these very sand-dunes. 

We passed up-river in the night, wandered together 
ashore amid the quaint surroundings of the various 
points of call higher up the following glorious morning, 
and sat together on deck all day silently appreciative of 
the unsurpassed grandeur and weird beauty of the eter- 
nal hills cut by the gorge of the bottomless black river 
churning into amber froth under our thrashing paddles, 
which stopped their beat for a few thrilling moments as 
we swung round the bay formed by Capes Trinity and 
Eternity, towering a quarter of a mile sheer above us, 
and hurtling back in numberless echoes the shrill scream 
of the steamer's whistle breaking the slumber of these 
awful solitudes. 

" Speaking of Indians," remarked the irrepressible 



AFTER MANY DAYS 153 

Sid, apropos of nothing at all save the dim asso- 
ciations connected with the locality we had whirled 
through at high tension, now relaxing as we swept out 
into the open sea from the river's yawning mouth, " that 
reminds me " 

" Reminds me, too. Let's have the story now. I'll 
print it, as I said, if there's readable copy in it. Go 
ahead !" 

" Well, in extenuation of an apparent leaning towards 
Indians, let me say that while my white descent is, I 
fancy, unquestioned, and I have no recollection, or sub- 
sequent information, of being born in an Indian camp, 
I certainly was foster-nursed, so to speak, on the site 
of the oldest settlement of the aboriginal owners of this 
country known to history by actual report of a visiting 
European. You know Jacques Cartier's account of his 
visit to the circular walled town of Hochelaga nestling 
under the shadow of Mount Royal, and the plans and 
drawings he made of it in 1535. You know of its subse- 
quent disappearance and entire obliteration in the inter- 
vening time before the next coming of French explorers, 
and the uncertainty of its exact site, and even doubt of 
its existence, until the discoveries of remains by Montreal 
antiquarians a few years ago decided the fact, and 
approximately the site, of old Hochelaga being some- 
where within the city blocks bounded by Peel, Sher- 
brooke, Union Avenue and St. Catherine Streets?" 

" Yes, I know. I was one of the small boys who stood 
watching and wondering what the big-wigs wanted to 
do with the bits of broken crockery they were picking 
up so carefully as the workmen threw them up in shovel- 
fuls," said I. " Get on with your story." 

" You remember Professor Murchison, who resigned 
from McGill's staff recently, don't you, Jack?" 



154 AT THE S1GN OF THE BEAVER 

" Fine man, forgotten more than half the others ever 
knew." 

" His field was more particularly in Arts, and my 
special studies were then going on in the new Science 
Departments, so that our college lives touched but 
slightly. Nevertheless, for some reason, he had taken a 
fancy to me and would talk for hours upon his pet fad 
of Indian hieroglyphics and picture writings. He was 
remarkably well up on Canadian records of this charac- 
ter scattered from one end of the country to the other, 
and was fond of tracing their connection with those of 
other lands, and showing how these were not the works 
of untutored savages rising from barbarism, but the 
expiring efforts of degenerate survivors of a once widely 
spread prehistoric civilization. I grew intensely inter- 
ested in these unofficial lectures and questioned him upon 
lost Hochelaga, but found him at variance with generally 
accepted belief. He held, and strongly insisted, that it 
lay nearer the mountain, and that the upper segment of 
its circle swept well up into, and cut right across, our 
University grounds, and got me to survey and define the 
site as he fixed it, and make him a plan. 

" The college campus is about the only remaining land 
unbuilt upon thereabout, and if the Professor could have 
had his way tennis courts and cricket creases would have 
been ruthlessly sacrificed upon the altar of scientific 
research. He was obliged, however, to confine his field 
of operations to the excavations being made for the 
foundations of new buildings, the breaking of ground for 
the running track and the levelling of the turf on the 
playing fields, and I'm sorry to say his explorations were 
almost barren of result. One day, however, as we were 
slowly strolling across the football ground, where the 
men were turning over and filling up hollows under the 
sod, I picked up a small object which attracted my atten- 



AFTER MANY DAYS I5 j 

tion among the loose earth and gravel, and began care- 
lessly to examine it. I soon saw I had a genuine ' find/ 
and called upon the Professor to help determine its 
nature. It appeared to be a small copper cylinder, about 
an inch long and three-eighths of an inch in diameter, 
solidly closed on one end with a cap of the same material 
slightly larger than the body of the cylinder, and bearing 
a loop, or eye, for the evident purpose of suspending 
round the neck by a thong. The other end was plugged 
with a stopper of some soft metal resembling lead, and 
the whole article was deeply corroded with the action of 
the elements during its agelong burial. The Professor's 
eyes danced with excitement, and his trembling lips 
parted in an awed whisper : ' A message from the dead J 
Open it quick!' I was none too cool myself, I confess, 
but my fingers were equal to the strain of pulling out the 
still firmly fixed metal plug in the desire to reach the 
enclosure, if there were any. Sure enough there was 
no disappointment. The message was there, written, 
as the Professor clearly showed, on the inner silky skin 
of the white birch bark, but what it was neither I nor my 
learned friend, nor any of the savants among the anti- 
quarian societies to whom he submitted the drawings 
I made, could determine to this day. I offered to give 
it to him, but he emphatically, though I fancied with 
reluctance, declined, charging me, as the younger man, 
with a lifetime before me, to sacredly guard the treasure 
and sedulously strive to force its secret. I have done 
so. I have carried the Thing about with me, questioned 
all I met, and sent photograph copies of the enclosure 
broadcast. Learned bodies have discussed papers upon 
the matter to no good, and I am just as ignorant as I 
was ten years ago, plus the aggravation of a fruitless pur- 
suit of the elusive and undiscoverable Thing." 



1 5 6 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



" Let's have a look at it," I put in, as Sid paused to 
take breath and relight his cigar. 

I took the little battered article he handed me and 
found it just as described, and, on withdrawing the plug 
or stopper, the mysterious message was seen tightly 
rolled and just filling the inside. Extracting this and 
smoothing it on my knee, it appeared like this: 

V< A>V<A>V< 

A>V_ -, <A ; 

V< A 

AI>V 




A> 



Of course I could not make head or tail of it, and 
passed it on to our companion, who had taken great 
interest in the recital. He took the various articles in 
his hands, silently turning over one by one the cylinder, 
its stopper and the enclosure, intently studying each with 
silent, inscrutable gaze ; then, without a word, he deliber- 
ately turned and blew clouds of smoke to leeward, fol- 
lowing their curl over the rail with a far-away look for 
the space of full a minute. Recognizing the slip, he 
wheeled about, and, alert as we knew him, said: 



AFTER MANY DAYS 157 

" Let me apologize first, and then, if you don't mind, 
I'll tell you another story." 

We both expressed ourselves as more delighted in 
listening to his stories than unravelling dark mysteries, 
and he at once began : 

" You'll pardon its autobiographical character, I know, 
when you've heard me through. If I have forgotten, 
permit me first to properly introduce myself, Hugh 
Langston, Colonel, by courtesy of my young friend here 
and my old comrades of the Confederate forces, but in 
fact of that rank in the United States Army, now detailed 
on somewhat unaccustomed but honorable duty for my 
beloved country in her present little difficulty, as you, 
Mr. Ahern, so cleverly guessed. For three weary and 
anxious months I have been in command of my little 
detachment of scouts in this northern outpost, charged 
with the double responsibility of watching every move 
of our enemies who made your city their base of opera- 
tions in gathering and forwarding intelligence, and car- 
ing for my own security under the laws of neutrality. 
In view of what follows you will understand that in this 
double game of hide-and-seek I was more disturbed by 
the latter consideration than worried about the nefarious 
nature of the Spaniards' little games I was sent to check- 
mate, as I flatter myself I did pretty thoroughly. Every 
move was watched, reported to me, and its intention dis- 
counted when not entirely frustrated. Letters, docu- 
ments and telegrams were, in unexplained ways, inter- 
cepted, copied, and their contents known in Washington 
within an hour of my reading, to the entire mystification 
of the uncomprehending Dons. This was not done 
without strain on nerves or physique. My ostensible 
quarters were your charming hostelry on Dominion 
Square, where I posed as a leisurely tourist making a 
prolonged stay, but my real business was done in the 



158 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

little down-town back office I hired in a retired nook of 
a quiet street, and mainly at night while I was supposed 
to be enjoying some entertainment or social function. 
I cared little for these, and craved rather rest and quiet 
as a relief from the strain. This I found on your unri- 
valled mountain park, but more often strolling about 
the walks or enjoying a quiet cigar on one of the benches 
along the flower-beds of the Square in front of the Wind- 
sor Hotel, where I could keep an eye on the coming and 
going of my fellow-boarders. I read up your romantic 
history, and even took to the mild recreation of writing 
letters to The Courier commenting on current local 
events as they appeared to a visitor, and one day, sit- 
ting near the captured Russian guns guarding Sir John 
Macdonald's monument, and bothered with the ' con- 
trairiness ' of everything, I actually ' dropped into poe- 
try ' ! May the Muses and you forgive, but I did so 
offend in thought, word and deed something to this 
effect : 

ON DOMINION SQUARE. 

A paradox, quite singular, 

Its double front uprears, 
Where Church and State rub peacefully 

Cold shoulders down the years; 
And muzzle-loaded, uncharged guns, 

With Rushin' sloth await 
Light Spanish boarders' heavy charge, 

Frowning immaculate. 

Restlessly calm, quietly proud, 

Invisibly it looms 
In monumental nothingness 

Above the turf and blooms. 
Its massive, insubstantial bulk 

The crowded void delights; 
And, fixed, immovable, pursues 

Its airy, tricksy flights. 



AFTER MANY DAYS 159 

With casual regularity 

It tipples, topples, tips; 
And unassuming arrogance 

Subserviently dips 
As skirts, tiles, knees, and palms are tipped 

Without and eke within, Sir; 
Ask sable Snow, ' What's " out of sight " ?' 

He'll surely say: ' De win', San!' 

" I plead in extenuation that this is a first, and I hope 
only, offence, and proceed with my interrupted tale: 

" Looking dispassionately at the Spaniards' manoeu- 
vres from their point of view, I could not, as I said, 
regard them in the nature of heinous crimes, for the 
simple reason that I myself had been engaged in the 
same kind of enterprise under almost exactly similar 
conditions thirty^five or more years before, and we, no 
doubt, shared the same belief that we were but doing 
our whole duty. You are both too young to have per- 
sonal recollections of the stirring times in your city, and 
its reputation as a hotbed of plots and an asylum for 
their Southern plotters during the Civil War, but are, 
no doubt, otherwise fully informed. We of the ' Lost 
Cause ' were then so sure we were right that we were 
ready to die for our opinion, though reconciling Time 
may have modified the views and attitude of those who 
survived. I, with many others, resigned our commis- 
sions in the United States service and tendered our 
swords to our new allegiance. It was thought that I 
could be more useful in the political arena than on the 
field, and I was appointed an accredited agent of the 
Confederacy for the purpose of securing recognition, 
money and munitions of war. I visited Europe, and 
finally took up my residence in the old St. Lawrence 
Hall in Montreal, from which point I could carry on 
negotiations and correspondence somewhat undisturbed. 



160 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

In communicating with the Confederate Government by 
our underground mail we had need of absolute secrecy 
in case of interception of despatches in transmission. 
This actually happened in several cases, but the means 
taken were so secure that no intelligible reading was ever 
got from any one of them. The cipher, based on no 
known code, defied the keenest effort to unravel; and 
though clues were discovered and worked under spur 
of liberal reward its secret remained undiscovered. As 
we learned of this through our informants we became 
bolder in committing important matter to paper at greater 
length and in fuller detail ; and I received high com- 
mendation for my services, and promotion from the rank 
of Lieutenant to that of Colonel at the age of thirty for 
I was the inventor of the cipher ! Better ones have since 
been arranged and adopted by various Governments ; 
in fact, mine is now the common property of those cog- 
nizant of such matters, so I may as well explain it to 
you. It was somewhat intricate, being a combination 
of a series of alphabets and numerals arranged accord- 
ing to key numbers, and an alternating cipher alphabet 
of characters and numeral signs, thirty-eight in all. The 
regular alphabets were signified thus: (i), (2), (3), 
(4) (5) > an d I arranged that (i) should begin to read 
E for A and so continue; (2), J for A; (3), O for A; 
(4), T for A; and (5), Y for A. The numeral codes 
were designated (6), (7), (8), and were to be read: 
(6), 3 for i ; (7), 6 for i ; (8), 9 for i. The sign (9) 
meant that the letter or figure following was to be read 
as ordinarily understood. At first we were very careful 
to use no two letters or figures of the same series 
together, separating one from the other by the sign indi- 
cating the code from which the letter or figure following 
it was taken. Finding this very laborious, and getting 
bolder at our continued escape from detection by the 



AFTER MANY DAYS 161 

censors, through whose hands we felt sure much of what 
did reach us at either end of the correspondence passed, 
and feeling secure under the complemental character 
cipher, we got to use whole words, phrases, and finally 
short sentences in one unbroken series. It is a simple 
matter to decipher any writing carried on in one alpha- 
betical sequence of true letter or character, but we kept 
clear of the danger line by breaking in with one or other 
of our nine changes of letters and numerals, and our 
one character cipher, which was the master-key to it all. 
Naturally we guarded our secret carefully, and every 
precaution was taken that no copies of our alphabets 
should be kept in such a way as if found they could be 
matched together and the key disclosed. I had com- 
mitted all the alphabet keys to memory, but thought well 
to preserve a single copy of my character cipher, which 
I made on thin, tough manilla paper, and enclosed in a 
pistol cartridge which had come to me from one of our 
foreign correspondents as a sample of the invention then 
being introduced for the new breech-loading arms we 
longed for but had not the means to equip ourselves with. 
This I had made into a pendant for my watch-chain, and 
it was never out of my sight, till one day, returning from 
a walk up to your then wild mountain woods across the 
unkempt University grounds, I found I had lost it! I 
needn't suggest to you the weary days of search and the 
anxious nights of worry over that little bit of lost metal 
and its precious paper enclosure, which I never laid eyes 
on till this moment, for that, gentlemen, is my little, old- 
fashioned pistol-cartridge and the missing cipher! 

" Explain it ! My dear boys, was my anxiety mis- 
placed? Isn't it clear to you two clever fellows at a 
glance? Not? Well, then, if you study the central 
figure you will find it comprises all the rest, and in its 
four quarters dissevered and turned in different direc- 
11 



1 62 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



tions the thirty-eight characters representing the alpha- 
bet, its supplemental ' & ' and ' repeat ' signs, and the 
ten numerals are easily accounted for. Begin with its 
simplest form from the letter A and read from left to 
right throughout to the end. Note that the second group 
of four takes the single point ; then follow the two points 
in twelve different arrangements ; then the four blank 
triangles ; and the final four triangles with the point 
read : Y, Z, ' & ' ' repeat ' this last sign being employed 
to avoid a use of double letters or figures. The lower 
row comprises the numerals, for which the three points 
are used. I and o are designated by the primary forms 
of the figure; the triangles are the even numbers, and 
the right angles the odd." 

V< A>V<A>V< 

AB COEFGH I J 

A >V r <A > 

K L M FC / 

V< A 



At>V 

W X Y 




Z AND REPEAT 



456 



" There's an old soldier's ' plain, unvarnished tale,' and 
if it conflicts with your romance, Mr. Pangborn, I'm 
sorry, but can't help it. What says the Great Poet : 



AFTER MANY DAYS 163 

' O, while you live, tell truth and shame the devil.' 
And again: 

' An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.' 

More apropos, however, is the aphorism attributed 
to the historic Governor of North Carolina in his brief 
address to the Governor of South Carolina, repeated with 
touching force one recent hot day of the present ' dis- 
pensation ' by my esteemed friend, his successor: " 

" Thanks, Colonel !" I laughed, " your pointed moral 
well adorns your tale. Come, Sid, old man, sit up and 
look pleasant ; 'tisn't your fault, you know !" 

The Colonel's quiet chuckle as we all rose and passed 
along the deck was irresistible and finally provocative of 
the general explosion of hearty appreciation of the situ- 
ation which pervaded the silent night as we disappeared 
down the companionway. 

I reported to the Chief at The Courier office early and 
fit on Monday morning. He listened with an amused 
smile to my brief resume of the foregoing incidents, and 
dismissed me with the suggestion: 

" That ought to make a good story. Better write it 
up!" 

And I did. 



Sallaite 



SAVED FOR ENGLAND 167 



Saved for England. 

ye know the moving story, how the maiden of 

Vercheres 
Eight long days withstood the Redskin, drove him 

baffled to his lair. 
And the fame of daring Founder, and the valor of Dol- 

lard, 
Stately cenotaph enshrining, grateful townsfolk herald 

far. 

Meet that deeds which saved our country gloriously 

should we record. 
When ye tell how with the dawning fearless sped Laura 

Secord, 
And the full score ye would tally of the long uncancelled 

debt, 
Write the tale of gallant Carleton and the Commodore 

Bouchette ! 



In the town is consternation ; clamorous foe beats at her 

gates ; 
Haughty summons to surrender, answer he impatient 

waits. 
Some would fight, but many waver ; cursing some, some 

on their knees 
Weep to see the fearful burghers trembling yield the 

town's great keys. 



1 68 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

Some who for their fallen Lilies proudly bear uncounted 
scars 

Eye askance the Threefold Crosses, and would hail new- 
risen Stars. 

Some there be, but true and chosen, who erstwhile on 
red fields met, 

And their hope is English Carleton, his the faith of 
French Bouchette. 

Shall the flower of England's planting wither in the 
bourgeoning 

Fall rich prize to rude invader, double traitor to his 
King? 

Flight estopped by land and water! How escape im- 
pending wreck 

Ere he safety finds, and succor, in the Fort at far 
Quebec ? 

Great the need and dire the peril, for the strange King's 
new-flown flag 

From its highest blood-won bastion recreant hands would 
foully drag. 

One shall save it, one shall aid him, both will keep it 
flying yet 

Give God-speed to Sir Guy Carleton, cheers for Com- 
modore Bouchette! 

Dark the night in chill November, all the town unheed- 
ing sleeps, 

Steals a boat from out the shadows, down the current 
ghost-like creeps. 

Trusty arms with mufflled paddles urge her on her silent 
way 

De la Naudiere, the faithful, and the Sergeant Bou- 
thellier. 



SAVED FOR ENGLAND 169 

Stripped of rank and martial trappings, guised in pea- 
sant's humble dress, 

In a locker three poor biscuits each man fend 'gainst 
hunger's stress. 

Not a whispered word is spoken, with a touch the course 
is set 

Thus for England ventures Carleton, piloted by brave 
Bouchette ! 

Sentinels on deck and headland flash their beacons o'er 

the track; 
Tho' chance shot means death or capture, there is now 

no turning back. 
Boucherville is passed unchallenged, Contrecceur left 

far behind, 
William Henry's hostile cannon silent glower adown the 

wind. 

Now the isles and shoals of Berthier bar the river's on- 
ward flow, 

Where the watchful sentry paces by each campfire burn- 
ing low. 

Flies the bullet with the challenge dangers swift the 
path beset 

Of the gallant General Carleton and the Commodore 
Bouchette ! 

But the boat, as log light floating, guided only by a hand 
Stealthily thrust o'er the gunwale by one of the little 

band, 
Nine long miles thro' tortuous channel slowly drifts 

down to the lake; 
Lusty thew and thrashing paddle staunch Three Rivers' 

port soon make. 



1 70 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

Cruel fate and unkind haven! Sheltering walls armed 

men invade; 

Wit alone may speed delivery from a crafty ambuscade. 
Thro' the jeering Continentals tuques awry and lips 

still wet 
Arm-in-arm reels peasant Carleton with his camarade 

Bouchette. 



Gained the boat hid 'mong tall rushes, fast the blows of 

paddles rain ; 
Safe below the rapid's foaming waiting brig swings to 

her chain; 
High aloft the Red Cross flutters, down the stream the 

stout Fell glides, 
Till beneath Cape Diamond's fortress safe at anchor now 

she rides. 

Booming guns from port and battery in glad welcome 

split the air. 
For loved Chief's triumphant landing eager hands gay 

barge prepare. 

Spite all pomp and ordered pageant, niceties of etiquette, 
One small skiff bears Governor Carleton, at the tiller 

proud Bouchette. 



Honors theirs, and gratulations, in St. Louis' Chateau 
gray; 

Then to meet the foe who hastens ruthlessly to burn and 
slay. 

In yon cold December midnight rings the shot that 
smote him low, 

Hurls his shattered remnant fleeing o'er the glacis' crim- 
soned snow! 



SAVED FOR ENGLAND 171 

When ye read how one man's valor Canada for England 

held, 
And would con how from two peoples one strong Nation 

ye may weld, 
To your children's listening children lest our heroes 

they forget > 
Tell the tale of gallant Carleton and the Commodore 

Bouchette ! 



In the Name of the King. 

SCARLET and Tartan and Khaki dun, Jack-boot, Puttee 

and Spur; 
Tunic and Sporran and bell-mouthed Duck, Helmet and 

Plume and Fur; 
Rifle and Broadsword, Cutlass and Lance, Maxim and 

Twelve-inch Gun, 
And the Brawn and Blood of the King's own Men, have 

Empire for him won! 



And a brave, glad show, and a gallant sight, are the 

Men of the Fighting-Trade, 
As they stand, eyes front, on the snowy deck, or the turf 

of the lined parade. 
Then the grim " Godspeed !" of the grizzled Chief, the 

kiss, and the cheers that ring 
For the Men of the Bond and the Uniform, who fare 

forth for their King! 



But that bloody day when the eye sees red, and the 

breath heaves through bared teeth, 
And the pibroch skirls, and the bugle rings, and the 

bayonet leaps from its sheath, 
And the line is flung at the torn glacis, that the guns 

long hours have shelled, 
Carving and clubbing and cursing its way to the key 

that is won and held ! 



IN THE NAME OF THE KING 173 

Glory, promotion, honors and loot, " mention " for gal- 
lantry 

Maimings and blood, the volleyed trench, a plash in the 
nameless sea 

Uneven guerdon as chance may fall but the clamor of 
grief is stilled, 

And ever the Colors are borne aloft, the broken ranks 
are filled! 

Tommy and Mac and Pat and Jean, Yellow and Brown 

and Black, 
The wide world round, for King and Flag have faced 

death back to back. 
Prairie and Bush and tawny Veldt, the Seas, the Sands. 

the Snows, 
Are tracked by the feet of Men of the Bond, who press 

where the old Flag goes. 

And the golden North where the sands are gold, fair 

gold the bending grain, 
And gold the hearts of its stalwart sons a broad and 

fair Domain 
Is held for their Lord by his lieges stout tho' scarce 

five hundred Horse 
Heirs of the Bond, Sons of the Blood, the pick and 

flower of his Force. 

Trooper and bailiff, constable, judge, for Order and Law 

they ride; 
Smuggler, outlaw, and red-skinned thief, all fearful 

scurry and hide 
Bullet full swift if need there be, and a laugh for the 

answering storm 
For the haunting dread of your rake-hell knave is the 

belted Uniform. 



1/4 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

Now, the souls of men, as of old it chanced, were seared 

with the lust for gold, 
And the turgid flood of envious camps up the luring 

gulches rolled. 
The hot trail rang 'neath the speeding feet; on Greed's 

heels Murder stalked, 
Till the Sergeant's Post at the far " divide " the rovers' 

onslaught balked. 

'Twas " pass and welcome, to men of peace, for here the 

King's writ runs." 
And the tunicked warders, unafraid, fronted the threat- 

'ning " guns." 
" Surrender and pass, or back to your place !" Nor 

bully nor tough dared draw, 
But yielded the symbols of riot and blood at the beck 

of Order and Law. 

Now, Yukon Bill was a " bad man " famed, at " bluff " 

renowned for his skill, 
And the " gun " he wore was a fearful thing, with a 

nick on the butt for each " kill." 
But he gave it up with a heart-wrung sigh, with never 

a word, alack! 
Of the pair of brand-new forty-fours snug hid in the 

folds of his pack. 

The gold-mad town was set ablaze, fed full by rumor's 

tongue, 
Of direful tales of " shootin' up " by the worst " bad 

man " unhung, 
Who swears in his cups a bloody death, by the gods of 

the roaring West, 
Should a monkey-jacket constable dare Yukon Bill 

arrest ! 



IN THE NAME OF THE KING 175 

Aldermen, Clerk, and Deputy, led by the doughty Mayor, 

And a throng of angry citizens crowd all the Barrack- 
square. 

A squadron at least, and all picked men, the worthy 
burghers claim, 

Should ride to avenge this foul assault upon the town's 
good name! 

" Call Corporal Short !" when he heard the tale, the Cap- 
tain said with a grin. 

" This braggart who's got the town ' held up,' find him, 
and bring him in!" 

" What ! unaided, unarmed !" the fearful cried ; " Cap- 
tain, he's good as dead; 

Report shall be made of this rashness, sir ; his blood is 
on your head!" 

Corporal Short, five-four in his boots, his forage-cap 

a-cock, 
Armed cap-a-pie with a swagger-stick, strode forth a 

scant half-block, 
Flung open the door of Black Jake's dive, and, cool as 

if on drill, 
Tapped curt command on the hulking back: "I guess 

yer wanted, Bill!" 

At the word Bill turned, swept a tipsy glance from chin- 
strap down to spurs, 

Then whipped out an oath with his ready gun : " Of all 
the mangy curs 

That ever were whelped in this King-cursed land to bark 
at a man and run, 

You're the limit, dead right!" But Short just said: 
" Come on, and gimme that gun !" 



176 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" Oh ! somebody take him before he's hurt !" Bill roared 

at the empty bar 
Patrons and servers, with equal haste, had scattered wide 

and far. 
Your blusterer, lacking gallery play, wilts like a shirt 

without starch; 
And weaponless, limp, Bill stepped at the word: "To 

the Barracks now, Forward, March!" 

" Why burden the town with a rascal's keep, give him 

the ' bad man's ' bounce 
Twenty-four hours to hit the trail," the jury his doom 

pronounce. 
Sadder and wiser, they watched him pack his far way 

lone and lorn, 
And now the brand-new forty-fours the Barrack-mess 

adorn. 



Scarlet and Tartan and Khaki dun, Gunner and Foot 

and Horse, 
They stand for the Flag the wide world round, and Order 

and Law enforce. 
Tommy and Mac and Pat and Jean White, Yellow, or 

Black, or Brown 
Here's to the Man in the Uniform, the stay of the Throne 

and Crown! 



THE HONOR OF THE COMPANY 177 



The Honor of the Company. 

UNPRICED the wide, untrod domain which that free- 
handed king 
Gave to his Chartered Company trading to Hudson's 

Bay; 
And Power of Justice, High and Low, under his hand 

and ring, 
Sealed to succeeding heritors, as even to this day. 

For Beauty must be beautified, and Foppery be decked; 
And beaver pelts are heartsome things to fend the 

storm's chill breath; 
And men must dare that marts be stored, and hazards 

little recked, 

From rending claw and hurtling shaft, hunger and 
cold and death. 

And Scottish hills and English vales sent forth their 

venturous sons 
Into the gloom of No-Man's-Land, honors and gear 

to win, 
Where, furthest north of fifty-two, save Factor's Law, 

none runs 
Equal requital, even dole, yea, saith it, " skin for skin." 

Ungava to Saskatchewan, from Garry to Good-Hope, 
Spite terrors of the Barren Lands, and perils of The 

Bay, 
The Fur-Kings' lettered blazon floats, with problems 

vast they cope, 

" Free-Trader " banned and vassals leal fear or 
acclaim their sway. 
12 



1/8 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

From Chippewyan to far York, from Kicking-Horse to 

Pitt, 
In two-score forts they tell the tale how Red Mac 

stayed the knife 
The blood-avenger fain would flesh, and by his ready 

wit 

The Red-Man judged by his own code, and saved the 
hunted life. 



To Red Mac in the Fort, one day, there came a runner 

spent, 
Appealing, " Great White Father, save ! they falsely 

me accuse, 
And by the Red-Man's gods have sworn the Tribe's dire 

chastisement 

Torture and death my woeful fate if shelter you 
refuse !" 

And hot upon the way-worn feet into the Fort there 

burst 

A vengeance-breathing, painted throng, with " Jus- 
tice!" for their cry. 

" Yield him to our offended Law, or ever stand accurst 
In all the Tribe! Who breaks its Law, shall he not 
surely die?" 

" Ye speak me fair," parleyed Red Mac. " Justice for 

White and Red 

Shall equal be within the bounds of the Great Com- 
pany, 

And I, Red Mac, shall mete it out, yea, even on the head 
Of him who to the Fort shall fly and claim its sanc- 
tuary." 



THE HONOR OF THE COMPANY 179 

" My brothers, runs not the old saw that he who fain 

would know 
The keen delights of rabbit-stew his rabbit first must 

snare ? 
Now, I who have the hare in pound shall surely let him 

go, 

And if ye catch him, do your will. Say ye, is it not 
fair? 



" When next the moon shall shine at full, attend ye for 

the race; 
Unarmed, afoot, hunters and prey, on equal terms 

shall meet; 
Five-score to one, like odds from each, a start of one 

full pace, 
And Justice be the arbiter between the speeding feet." 

With grunts of satisfaction deep, unquestioning, ap- 
peased, 
Trusting the pledge of " Hudson Bay," sacred till day 

of doom, 
The blood-avenging fury stilled, grim, silent, yet well 

pleased, 

The braves stalked through the Fort's barred gate and 
vanished in the gloom. 



" Now, by the powers of turf and track !" the wily Fac- 
tor swore, 

If I have not forgotten how a runner should be broke, 
A race we'll see that shall surpass the vaunted feats of 

yore 

As would the pride of Epsom Downs outfoot a cos- 
ter's 'moke'!" 



l8o AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

With raw deer-meat and pemmican, " parritch " and 

toothsome stew, 
Mac stuffed that red skin for a week, till you might 

fear 'twould crack. 
" Heed not the fat ! he'll rival yet, in toughened nerve 

and thew, 

The fittest man e'er donned the spikes upon the cinder- 
track!" 

Six hours a day Mac raced him round the stockade's 

measured ring; 
Practised in jumping till with ease four twelve-hand 

colts he'd clear ; 
The great ringed weights that scale the pelts forced 

him to lift and fling, 

And tussle with the grizzly cub, a wrestler without 
peer. 

Unguents compound of " whiskey blanc " and mellow 

wild-goose oil, 

With soothing massage and cold douche, the training- 
pangs allay; 

And meat and drink, portioned with care, solace the day- 
long toil, 

Ending in sleep on dreamless couch of fragrant Indian 
hay. 

Day in, day out, relentlessly, Mac urged the tireless pace, 
Grimly content with the good work; and when the* 

Harvest Moon 
Beamed clear and full, 'twas plain to all that in the 

fateful race 

An athlete fit would toe his mark, the morrow at high 
noon. 



THE HONOR OF THE COMPANY 181 

The purpling dawn revealed a camp night-sprung like 

Jonah's vine 
Far-borne across the waving plains by broncho and 

cayuse, 

And pitched without the stockade gate; tepees in strag- 
gling line, 

Housing alike children and dogs, squaw, buck and 
brown papoose. 

" Now, welcome, brothers !" hailed Red Mac. " Right 

promptly are ye met! 
This morn ye break your fast with me. In token of 

the pledge 
Upheld this day 'twixt White and Red, we smoke the 

calumet 

When ye have drained the loving-cup and blunted 
hunger's edge!" 

The Fort was emptied of its best, and not the smallest 

crumb 
Of the glad feast remained unhid within some hollow 

skin. 
In cautious stretching of the law, a tot of prime old 

rum 

Was served each brave who sprawled at ease, gorged 
to his smoke-wreathed chin. 

And when the high-ascending sun marked on the dial's 

face 
The hour of noon, Mac whistled " time " ; bade each 

man toe the scratch 
Scored fair and clear across the plain 'twixt quarry 

and the chase 

The vantage odds of handicap agreed on for the 
match. 



1 82 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

A field to hearten any meet, fit athletes all, and good 
To critic eye. Each muscle stirred beneath the nude 

brown skin 
With serpent spring. As hounds on leash, the lissome 

runners stood 

Unshamed in scanty racing garb breech-clout and 
moccasin. 

With echoing crash the starting gun boomed from the 

bastion's height, 
And like a flock of partridges, scared by the hunter's 

shot, 
The field was off to circumvent the quarry's headlong 

flight 

To 'scape the yells and itching claws upon the trail 
mad-hot. 

The blood-mad chase had eaten up full half the handi- 
cap 
Before the trembling quarry woke to his oncoming 

fate 

Shrilled to his ears in brazen notes across the lessen- 
ing gap, 

Then fear-numbed limbs and leaden feet leaped to 
their stride and gait! 

" The race is now as good as won," grinned crafty Fac- 
tor Mac. 
" The training days have done their work so has my 

little feast. 
See ! one by one the blown, spent chase sink winded on 

the track, 

While fast and far the quarry speeds, and all pursuit 
has ceased!" 



THE HONOR OF THE COMPANY 183 

The distanced chase came straggling back, and with re- 
covered breath 

Acclaimed Red Mac Factor supreme in all the Hud- 
son's Bay, 
Swearing by the dread Manitou, who rules for life and 

death, 

Full pardon for a brother's fault, judged and atoned 
that day! 



And still there comes to venturous souls the call of No- 

Man's-Land, 
Voiced from its woods and hills and streams, luring 

insistently ; 
Still White and Red, in Lodge and Fort, clasping a 

brother-hand, 

Vow fealty to the olden pact, and pledge " The Com- 
pany 1" 



ME TEMPS YCHOSIS 1 87 



Metempsychosis. 

AROYNT thee, daemon! thou unbidden guest, 
Who comest with loud clamor to my door 
From thy far bourn with all they garnered lore 
Of olden lands, plaining thy strange behest 
That, all untutored, I thy wearied quest 

Uptake, and with thy wreathed style forth-pour 
For thee thy aeon-sealed, full-burdened store, 
In measured cadences all fitly drest, 

Then hie me with thy golden phantasies 
And pipe to those who in the Forum's space 
Babble and chaffer, while the brazen tale, 
Thrummed by the Genie of the Clicking Keys, 
Shames thy poor minstrel in their market-place 
Avaunt! lest I, as they, do turn and rail! 



1 88 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



Misappreciation. 

DOST whine and cower under the keen thrash 
Of circumstance impelling to thy work 
All laggard tempters cry on thee to shirk 
Save under duress of the urging lash, 
And whimper if thy dole be but the flash 
Of scornful eye steel-hard as ruffian dirk, 
Or high-flung laughter where lewd scoffers lurk 
In idle dalliance 'neath the fountain's plash? 
Up ! Gird thee ! for thy stint is large to fill, 

And day swift wears to night ere comes surcease! 
Praise, blame, or guerdon, as the hours bestow : 
Lo, thine own soul shall judge if well, not ill, 
Thy work be laid ; hold, then, thy peace, 

Haply thy friend and the Task-Master know ! 



KNIGHT-ERRANTRY 189 



Knight'Errantry. 

MAYHAP there comes far-borne to thee the cry 
Of captive Justice, thralled to reaching Greed, 
That thou shouldst arm and mount and straightway 

speed 

With aid thou by thy vows canst not deny ; 
Mayhap, too, squires and men-at-arms shall fly 
Their pledged devoir, and all the coward breed 
Of skulking Fears assail in thy dire need, 
And comrade-fool of all, bid thee forth hie ; 
Still shalt thou fare, impelled by knightly gage 
Of olden Chivalry, to prove the Right 

'Gainst banded Might, sworn on thy midnight 

knee, 

And, like to gallant youth of storied page, 
Alone shall spur to win the bristling height, 
Giving God thanks He thus hath honored thee! 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



Dethronement. 

OH, spare, dread Suzerain, in pity stay 

The mandate that from knightly brow would wrest 
The proud insignia by thy hand imprest, 
And as thy bedesman thy poor liege will pay 
His vows ; or this denied, he yet may pray 
That kindly hemlock or swift steel be blest 
Emancipators from the fell arrest 
To speed him on his far, lone, untrod way ! 
But to be haled by brawling men-at-arms. 

Flouted, scourged, gyved, red quivering wounds 

agape, 

Endungeoned with the dusty owl and bat, 
Frighted at shades, frenzied by rude alarms, 
The mock of jester and companion ape 

Dear Lord, by the all-hallowed sign, not that! 



INTERROGA TION 



191 



Interrogation. 

How shall we fare in that on-coming day 
Which opes for iis the donjon-keep of Time, 
And we, with gyve-worn, stumbling feet, slow climb 
The noisome steeps and grope our wildered way 
O'er cruel stones while glints but far, dim ray 
Faint-fluttering through some iron-matted rime 
'Mid the dank gloom, where the red ghosts of crime 
Haunt their cold crypt, with dust of ages grey 
And in the frowning portal's shadow stand, 

Ere the great bolts are shot, and wide are thrown 

The fretted gates that bar, and we are free, 
And the mute Warder waves his mailed hand, 
Forth-speeding to the limitless Unknown 
Bathed in the gold-gleam of Eternity? 



1 92 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



The Iconoclast. 1 

WITH bludgeon shocks of satire-venomed pen 
He riots in the fane of age-long Creed, 
Where Arrogance, Credulity and Greed 
False gods enshrine before deluded men ; 
And in their teeth hurls ribald challenge when, 
Fronting his single arm, the intolerant breed 
Of Baal howl and curse the blasphemous deed 
With ban and holy wrath and loud Amen ; 

Nor heeds their rage, but where the far grey peaks 
Raise their hoar facets to the purpling day, 

Flooding its glory over wind-dipt sod 
And primal rock in gold and crimson streaks, 

With bared, bowed head he kneels, his awed lips 

pray: 
" In Thee alone I trust, all-puissant GOD !" 



ANTICIPA TION \ 93 



Anticipation. 

I DREAM of her by day, and wakeful night 
Filches the visioned hours from envious sleep; 
Yet with presaging dawn my vigil keep 
Till Hope's sun fades with eve's golden delight. 
Wide as the wood, lofty as its plumed height, 
Warm as its hues, pure as its lakelet's deep, 
Her largess streams where I, her liegeman, creep, 
All travel-spent, plaining that Love unite 

Friend, comrade, husband, lover, mistress, wife, 
Erst twain, knit one, indissoluble bind 

In easeful yoke, assuage the fretting pain 
Of love unsated, still hot passion's strife : 
Ah, shall I the Immaculate One find? 
Or to my proffered fealty will she deign? 



194 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



Plagiary. 

As delver in the earth, or rock age-bound, 

Gleans from the treasures of deep-caverned hoard, 
By lavish hand of Great Provider stored, 
Ore, gold and gem, and by his art renowned, 
Ail-craftily, with workman-skill profound, 
Shapes diadem for brow of over-lord, 
Fair-jewelled chalice, or all-conquering sword, 
Robs none, but guerdoned is, and crowned; 

So he, who, roving 'mid Thought's tasselled hills 
And bloom-starred meads, all dight and patterned 

rare, 

Plucks as he will, unmissed, bud, flower and leaf 
That, in his soul's alembic cast, distils 

In perfumed breathing of Song, Hymn or Prayer 
Enravishing, Creator is, not thief! 



RETRIBUTION 195 



Retribution. 

WITH fearsome shudder of impending doom 
Man fronts the bar of the dread High Assize, 
And to the red charge pleads, or, quibbling, tries 
If in the indictment flaw, for mercy room: 
But, nathless all, self-pleasing's fees dark loom 
When the slow-measured voice and calm, sad eyes 
Of even Justice, scorning puny lies, 
Pass on the record the Great Books enwomb 
Nay, writ full large for each clear eye to read 
On the cold stones, dull earth, and quivering air, 

And in the erst-sealed pages of the mind, 
The idle thought, quick word, light act, black deed, 
Imprinted whelm the culprit trembling there, 
Judgment confessing by his own hand signed! 



196 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



" Shake-Speare." 2 

FEARSOME the shadow of yon awful curse 
Uprears its threat'ning finger o'er the stones 
Where troop awed pilgrim throngs above dry bones 
Whisp'ring a name false, carven lines inherse 
Poet's light blade, catch-coin to deck lean purse. 
The yard, all wondering, its magic owns, 
And clapper-claws the lack-shame daw, enthrones 
Him bard who struts and mouths Want's bartered verse. 
Fame, perjured blazon, usances, and lands, 
And gentle sepulture for base-born clay, 

O'er weigh the witness of the unsigned pact 
'Twixt needy wit and nimble greed's demands. 
Mimes the vain actor night's slow hours away 
Time calls for " Author " in the curtain-act ! 



RE NU NCI A TION \ 97 



Renunciation. 3 

NOT as The Maid defied the banner'd power 
Of furious England ravishing her France 
Comes she, with bravery of sword and lance. 
All-weakly armed, fond Idol-cult's high tower 
Breasting, she fronts Opiniatry's fell shower, 
And cruel stab of lip-curled arrogance, 
In fearless quest. Ah, daughter of Mischance, 
Lost, all! Friends, Reputation, Life's full flower! 
E'en as The Maid, by ruthless bigot Time 
Despitely used, enshrined in after days, 

So, owning Poesy's golden lamp defiled, 
Song's laurels shameless worn by buskin'd mime, 
Imperial leaflet shorn from mummer's bays 

May " Shakespeare's " England yield New Eng- 
land's child! 



I 9 8 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



"Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, 
Histories and Tragedies." 

London: 1623. 

IMMORTAL Trilogy Love's Testament, 

Fame's " In Excelsis," Passion's Litany 
Deathless, imperishable Trinity! 
Excalibur, burnished armipotent, 
Kings' panoply, tyrants' admonishment, 
Pierian spring of loftiest minstrelsy, 
Flower of all speech, bloom of all poesy, 
Thralled lips' Great Charter of enfranchisement 
Last of our envied England's Three, first wrung 
From puissant arrogance at Runnymede, 

Writ with his blood by martyred Tyndale's pen. 
Eternized by her SHAKESPEARE'S herald-tongue 
Unto the last-born of this dowered breed 
Of Island-Empire-building Englishmen! 



THE MINSTREL 2OI 



The Minstrel. 

SAD-EYED and wan, with hosen frayed, 

Gay doublet stained and dim, 
It chanced a Troubadour had strayed 

Beside her fountain's rim, 
And he the Muse some small boon prayed 

Song, dirge, or hymn. 

From wine-shop, fane and chaffering mart 
Throngs poured upon the square, 

Babbling of things close to the heart 
Traffic, or Wine, or Prayer 

And railed on him who stood apart 
In mute despair. 

These cried : " Pipe us of Love or Wine, 
Full-brimmed with laughter gay!" 

" Laud us glad hymns to gods divine !" 
Cried those ; but others, " Nay, 

A Dirge, by all the Muses nine ! 
And name thy pay." 



" F faith, good friends, if my loved Muse 

Her boon doth not withhold, 
I, her poor liege, dare not refuse 

Pleadings in service old, 
For sing I must, and cannot choose, 

But not for gold. 



202 



" Yet, foolish ones, ye ask amiss : 

Song for the heart of stone ; 
Loud-vaunting holiness, I wis, 

Befits the Requiem's moan ; 
And for the wanton wine-cup's kiss 

Prayers must atone. 

" Lo ! now the Heav'nly Muse hath deigned 

To grant her bedesman's suit, 
And of her largesse showers hath rained 

On me and my poor lute, 
That but for her had yet remained 

All lorn and mute. 

" And as her almoner I fling 
The gifts she rare doth shower. 

My mistress bids me, and I sing; 
Dare I, shameless, deflower 

With stain of twice-paid guerdoning 
Her Heav'n-sent dower?" 

He sang his songs of Arcady, 
And Care from knit brows fled ; 

Lips wont to troll lewd revelry 
Glad chorales echoed; 

And Pride at humbling Litany 
Bowed impious head. 

Nathless tears, laughter, proffer'd fee, 

Ail-bounteously out-flung 
In tribute to rare minstrelsy 

Passing all dreamed or sung, 
He fled, and vanished utterly 

The throngs among. 



THE MINSTREL 203 

At darkling eve, the tales avouch, 

Footsore and worn and cold, 
The kindly straw a welcome couch, 

He fain would eat: behold, 
The crusts he sought in tatter'd pouch 

Were turned to gold ! 



204 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



A Song of Empire. 4 

" One with Britain, heart and soul, 
One Life, one Flag, one Throne!" 

IN the fair golden North where the Three Seas' shocks 

meet 

On the age-hammered ribs of the world, 
And the Snow-Queen's chill kiss and the Storm-King's 

white beat 

By the South-blown Chinook back are whirled ; 
Where the grey hills, calm woods, furrowed plains, 

laughing streams 

Lift their hymns to the canopied blue, 
Smiles the Land of our love and our hope and our 

dreams 
O dear Land, here we pledge thee anew! 

Chorus 

All together, Hurrah ! Undivided we stand 

For the Flag and the World-Empire Throne, 
In the League of the Sons of the Blood here's a hand, 

And an arm when the bugles are blown! 

Steadfast, fixed as their Star, stand the Northland's stout 
sons, 

In one aim, old-time feuds reconciled ; 
For the blood of the Mother of Nationhood runs 

Thro' the veins of the Nations' last child. 
As the might of the Sea is the grip of their hand, 

But the iron of its rocks in their frown ; 
As ye will ye may have from the men of the Land 

Choose, and God the arbitrament crown ! 

Chorus. 



A SONG OF EMPIRE 205 

And the triple-fold Cross of the White, Blue and Red 

Is the Sign of the Sons of the Blood ; 
'Gainst it foes weakly stand, 'neath it heroes have bled 

On the torn field and dark sanguined flood. 
And the sweep of its march is the tramp of a host, 

And their song as the sound of the Sea, 
As they cheer and acclaim it their charter and boast, 

And the Standard of Empire to be ! 

Chorus. 

From hearts, homes, Labor's matins and evensongs rise 

With the swell of their world-mart's far hum, 
And defence, not defiance, the burden that flies 

In the tang of their world-rolling drum. 
What we have we will hold to the last shattered breach 

Pledge ye now to the Blood Brotherhood ! 
Our Imperial Birthright ; the Flag and the Speech 

And the Rule of the Sons of the Blood ! 

Chorus. 



206 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



Jean Baptiste Cogitates Thus. 

(With apologies to Dr. Drummond.) 

WAT A t'ink 'bout dis h'Angle-Amerique ? 

Dat was bodder me moch, ma f oi ; 
A lak well be good fren' wit' de Yankee, 

But lak better ma chere Canadaw. 
He lak it, too, come try for tek it, 

Tarn ma fadder's grandpere be alive 
He fire de shot feex de whol' beeznesse 

A Kebec, 'way back 'Sav'ntee-five. 

Affer dat, de Peep' hourraw for h'Angland! 

She geev peace, an' fair-play, an' good chance 
For de poor Canayens wit' no contree, 

Jus' de langue of deir los' modder, France. 
Den de Yank' spik nace word' sweet lak sirop 

T'ink de Peep' deir new contree will sell ! 
Den he come wit' hees gun ; get hees congee 

At Chateauguay, tam h'Eighteen-twel'. 

But de Canayens don' get deir fair-play, 

So 'long come de Papineau War 
Ma fadder he's fight wit' de Patriotes 

You know better'n me w'at das for. 
Now's de chance Freedom Bird geev hees glad han'!- 

He's no good more'n ol' choual wit' de spav'n. 
Only screech hees loon laf, and' de Peep' count 

Deir dead martyrs of "Tortee-sav'n. 



JEAN BAPTISTS COGITATES 207 

Bimeby cle Yank lak mek some beeznesse ; 

Say : les shake ! an' dose fool t'ing' forget. 
But de Peep' don' forget, jus' forgeev heem, 

'Cause dey know 'nuff come in out de wet. 
An' dey mek w'at you call ra-cee-pross-tee 

T'ink das better'n scratch lak two cat' 
Tarn she's good h'on de farm an' de shaintee 

Wit' de Big Treat' of 'Cinquante-quatre. 

But de Yank' t'ink he don' 'av all sof t'ing, 

Say de Canayens 'av HT show, too ; 
So he tell to Victoriaw: " Stop it!" 

She say : " H'all right, if dat suit to you." 
Den he's mad ; but he spik her de bon jour 

'Count some troub' wit' dat Sout'-Bull-Run-feex 
But he weenk when hees sans-culottes Fenian' 

Cross de line' long 'bout 'Seextee-seex. 

But dey t'ink das le diable sure is chase dem, 

An' dey t'row 'way deir coat' an' deir gun' 
So's to cross queek de forty-five frontier 

'Cep' dose capture' an' too dead for run. 
An' de Gouvernement's go'n geev gol' medailles 

All de boy' mek brave fight Pigeon Hill ! 
An' de Yank', you know well w'at dey geev us 

De Barry Buf'lo Labor Bill ! 

Still de Peep' lak mek fren' wit de Yankee' ; 

Sen' deir Politiques down Washington 
For try if dey caint 'range le Commerce 

Way you call " modus 'vendi " fac,on. 
An' we let dem ketch feesh h'all dey wan' to, 

Geev dem h'ice, an' de bait you call " live," 
An' dey t'ank us by sen', how you say it? 

Twis'-tail-message-Cleevlan'-'Nantee-nve' 



208 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

An' das w'y, for sure, A caint tell, me, 

Wat A t'ink 'bout dis new alliance ; 
'Fraid de Canayens pay for de musique, 

An' de Yank' 'av de fonne h'on de dance. 
Sir Wil-fred's try get de Peep' fair-play, 

Mek good fren' wit' dem smart men h'on State', 
But dey bus' h'up dat Congres assemble 

Vieux Kebec h'on de 'ear 'Nantee-h'eight. 

Now de Yank' t'ink he lak mek more beezness, 

'Av good marche for sell hees job lot' ; 
Wan' hees marchandises entrer free-duty, 

Den he buy h'all de polp-'ood we got! 
For mek sure he don' get de wors' bargeen, 

He ax boot beeg lisiere of our Ian' 
Wan' be 'lowed change de bornes, plant new piquets, 

Den get job for door-keep la douane! 

So John Boule an' hees smart Yankee cousin 

Tek a han' in de game you call " bluff," 
An' John grin, an' Sam weenk, an' de crowd laf 

But de Canayens cof h'up de stuff! 
An' de Peep' dey got bonco' and gol'-bric', 

'Sted of fair-play-square-deal, A'm sure, me, 
In dose Laska-Ras-pross-tee-Conventions 

Dey was hoi' h'on de 'ear Nanteen-t'ree. 



THE IMPERIAL TRADING COMPANY 209 



The Imperial Trading Company, Unlimited. 

Do ye hold it as naught, a light thing we have wrought, 

On the Plains, in the Bush, by the Veldt? 
Lo, the Old Hive was strait, and we fared to our fate, 

And here we have traffick'd and dealt, 
And withstood all who'd maim or our Trade or our 
Claim, 

As the way is of men of the Breed 
For each ranch, shanty, mine, flaunts the storm- weathered 
Sign, 

Old-empowered by charter and deed. 

Count your freighters, deck-full, of our corn, kine and 
wool, 

Scudding, spume-sprent, the Seven Seas across : 
Hath it not roundly paid, this vast over-sea trade, 

And the profit far o'ertopped the loss ? 
Let their blade-beats keep tale of each bellying bale, 

And the spices and timber and gold, 
And the gem, pelt and plume, and rare stuffs of the loom, 

To your swallowing storehouses rolled ! 

When the Freebooter pressed, did we fail of our best, 

Yea, the flower of the Blood-banded Sons, 
Faced they not with you then, like to soldiers and men, 

The hot blast of his withering guns ? 
Tho' the lip-valiant brag, bite the thumb at the Flag, 

Let the bully who itches to smite 
Come with insolent tread, threat his bounds or his bread. 

Know the whelps of the Old Dog can bite! 
14 



210 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

" Ho ! Go to ! now," they say, " 'tis an overprized way, 

This rough battle of bullet and shell. 
He may make and may buy" do they vauntingly cry, 

" But our foe starves unless he can sell! 
See! this Masterful One his long tether hath run; 

Let him prate of his Consols and Rents ; 
His proud onset we wait by the bars of our gate, 

And take toll ere he trades in our tents !" 



And with Octroi and Cess do they harry and stress, 

Mulct his wares to the uttermost sou ; 
And but mock when he pleads, as a beggar his needs : 

' 'Tis an unfriendly act that ye do 
'Gainst the Law that / made for the Freedom of Trade, 

And the thriving of Nations unborn, 
Stablished firm as the Creed, or the laws of the Mede, 

Which rude hands have unholily torn!" 



Oh, the pity, the shame, that the House and the Name 

Be the byword of bourse and bazaar! 
Do the peoples and tribes barter textlets for gibes, 

And do prayers their lock'd portals unbar? 
For a psalm do they sell, for an inch mete an ell, 

Give a toll-booth for market overt? 
Out on Doctrine and School ! Be their Code your new 
Rule, 

And the Lex Talionis assert ! 



Tho' they make their wrath hot, and, foregathering, plot 

How to counter with deadliest thrust. 
And would envious end. or all-meddlesome mend 

Wreck or merge, mine by Tariff and Trust 



THE IMPERIAL TRADING COMPANY 211 

The good-will of the Firm, and allegiance mis-term 

But a policy pattern'd to pay, 

Let them con things unlearn'd, by the Blood-Bond dis- 
cern'd, 

An it take them a year and a day! 



Then bethink as ye rouse of the Heirs of the House 

In the Branches out-station'd afar, 

And their traffic, swift-borne, from the Isles and the 
Horn. 

And the Sign of the Seven-rayed Star! 
Whoso wins, the Word wings, proud shall stand before 
Kings, 

And the alien and mean man disdain : 
See we lack not our share as ye unafraid fare 

Forth to harvest new guerdon and gain ! 



14a 



212 



Rosemary. 

AN she but care! Come, Esperance, 

Speed her true liege, all debonair, 
Forth on his questing chevisance, 
An she but care, 



Devoir for her to bravely dare 
When thundering steed and couchant lance 
Affright and stay where he would fare! 



Falls he in combat a outrance? 

Hers his last sigh and broken prayer 
As on her scarf his kisses glance : 
An she but care! 



HEARTS VALIANT 



213 



Hearts Valiant. 5 

A FAULT in her flight, a cry in the dark, the crash of 

the rending shock, 
And the pride of the sea is a thing of naught in the teeth 

of the iron rock. 
While the sheeted wraith of the Terror by Night steals 

thro' the chill, dank gloom, 
And the cruel jaws of the hungry sea gnash with the 

sound of doom. 



Three ways ye wot of, yea, four there be, to front the 

Arrow that Flies 
By noonday or night to the breasts of all, ye may read 

in the uncowed eyes 
Of the fearless man who will die for men, and the man 

in the guise of a maid, 
And the woman who smiles as she takes the hand of the 

child who is unafraid. 



Ye that go down to the sea in ships and tempt the plumb- 
less flood, 

By gage of the mother who called you sons, born of the 
breed and blood, 

These wonders ye see, but the marvel hides in the name- 
less coward thing, 

Ye spurn with the flout of a leal man's scorn, and lash 
with the hot word's sting. 



214 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



God send with our call that may come one day in the 

storm or the battle's red, 
'Mid the lagging hours of the day's long stint, or the 

ease of a visioned bed, 
To be up and on to the duty near, tho' winged lightnings 

fly- 
High thought of the brave who sprang to do, nor reck'd 

they might chance to die! 



PIERRE DENIS 21$ 



Pierre Denis. 8 

LONG have I, White Throat, a prayer many 
Breathed at our dear Lady's shrine; 

Oft to her feet borne a care many 

Hey, truant rover of mine! 
C'est lui! Pierre Denis, Pierre Denis, Pierre Denis. 

Go with thy melting, sweet melody, 

Rossignol, messenger fleet ! 
Pipe thy note, say 'tis not well with me, 

Bring him eftsoon to my feet! 
Ah, oui! Bile m'a dit, Elle m'a dit, Elle m'a dit. 

Breathe in the wood thy low prayer for me, 

Whistle thy lilt o'er the hill ; 
Lone am I, sad it doth fare with me, 

Hie thee, and fear thee no ill ! 
Oui! Oui! Pierre Denis, Pierre Denis, Pierre Denis! 

Hither, ye swift one, reveal to me 

Wastes where my laggard doth hide ! 
Loves he me, shall he yet kneel to me, 

Back shall he haste to my side? 
Mais, oui! 77 m'a dit, II m'a dit, II m'a dit. 

Lo, his love-token I bear to thee 
Far tho' he strayed from thy love 
Found he none e'en to compare to thee 

Flies he, as home-winging dove 
O! Lui! Pierre Denis, Pierre Denis, Pierre Denis! 



2i6 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



Love. 7 

(From the French.) 

me, my heart, sad heart, all passion-worn, 
What is this Love, dear word so wondrous sweet? 
A thought, a phantasy, of two souls born 
Two hearts, as one, that each for other beat! 

Tell me, whence comes to us this stranger guest? 
Love lives where love is, there it makes its stay! 

Whence, then, that Love which leaves its chosen nest?- 
It is not Love, if e'er it flies away ! 

How Love discern, to whom we fealty owe? 
When not for self it lives and craves a boon ! 

And Love the Conqueror, how may we know? 
Be still, and thou may'st hear his noiseless shoon! 

How doth rich Love its store accumulate? 
Only by scattering doth increase come! 

And what its language, all impassionate ? 
Love only loves, and always. Love is dumb ! 



KEATS AND A CALENDAR 217 



Keats and a Calendar. 

AT glad Christmastide 
To the sweet, sweets : 

Than all Bards beside, 
I send thee Keats. 



Poets' sweet Poet-King 
Tho' motley him cover 

A rhymester's offering 
To poet-lover. 



Mayhap some grey days 
Of the new, golden year 

His delectable lays 

Tired heart may cheer. 



218 



AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 



Greeting. 

WITH this there speeds a Tale of Days, 
Ne'er writ, nor sung, nor told, 

That when twelve silver moons shall blaze 
Thou'lt shrine with Days of Old. 



As one by one, to thy strange gaze, 

The pages are unrolled, 
Mayhap may'st find these unknown days 

Red-letter'd some, some gold. 



If some there be, to thine amaze, 
All leaden grey and cold, 

May memories of Golden Days 
The cheerless few o'erfold ! 



THE WINGED WHEEL 219 

The Winged Wheel. 8 

Air: " The Stein Song." 

WHEN the turf springs green in Maytime, 

And the Summer's golden days 
Woo the red blood to its play-time, 

Then you'll hear from the M. three A's! 

Chorus 

For, come fair or foul weather, 
As good fellows, all together, 
Let us stand, leal and able, 
For " the game " and the old Winged Wheel ! 

When Thanksgiving follows hay-time, 

And the slanting sun's cold rays 
Mark the pigskin's scanty gay time, 

Then look out for the M. three A's ! 

Chorus. 

When the Crosse of the long-past Maytime 
Yields to Puck and his playful ways, 

And the lights turn night to daytime, 
Then make way for the M. three A's ! 

Chorus. 

If to fighting time, not play-time, 
Be the call that the whistle plays, 

Then we'll march in M.A.A.A.-time, 
In the style of the M. three A's ! 

Chorus. 






Nnfra 



NOTES 



Notes. 
p. 192. 

1 See anecdote of Voltaire in " Men of Letters of the Time 
of George III.," by Lord Brougham. 

p. 196. 

2 This is a Cipher-Sonnet and enfolds in a regular sequence 
the bracketed letters of the name and title: (FRANCIS 
BACON), Baron (V)erulam and Viscount St. (A)lbans. By 
noting the first letter of the first " foot " of the first line, the 
second of the second, the third of the third, and so on to the 
tenth, beginning again at the first of the eleventh and con- 
tinuing to the fourteenth line, the key is found, thus: 



E*ear- 


some 


the 


sha- 


dow 


of 


yon 


aw- 


ful 


curse 


Up- 


Rears! 


its 


threat- 


'ning 


fin- 


ger 


o'er 


the 


stones 


Where 


troop 


Awed 


pil- 
Name 


grim 


throngs 


a- 


bove 


dry 


bones 


Whis- 


p'ring 


a 


false, 


carv- 


en 


lines 


in- 


herse 


Po- 


et's 


light 


blade, 


Catch 


coin 


to 


deck 


lean 


purse, 


The 


yard, 


all 


won- 


der- 


Ing. 


its 


mag- 


ic 


owns, 


And 


clap- 


per- 


claws 


the 


lack- 


Shame 


daw, 


en- 


thrones 


Him 
Fame, 


bard 
per- 


who 
jured 


struts 
bla- 


and 
zon, 


mouths 

US- 


Want's 
an- 


Bar- 

ces, 


tered 
And 


verse, 
lands, 


And 


^en- 


tie 


se- 


pul- 


tun- 


for 


base- 


born 


Clay, 


O'er- 


weigh 


the 


wit- 


ness 


of 


the 


un- 


signed 


pact 


'Twixt 


Need- 


y 


wit 


and 


Mini 


ble 


greed's 


de- 


mands. 


Mimes 


the 


Vain 


act- 


or 


night's 


slow 


hours 


a- 


way- 


Time 


calls 


for 


"Au- 


thor" 


in 


the 


curt- 


ain- 


act! 



224 AT THE SIGN OF THE BEAVER 

p. 197. 
'Acrostic Sonnet. Read initial letters upwards. 

p. 204. 

4 In 1898 the Montreal Witness instituted a Canadian Song 
Competition, and offered prizes for the four best " songs." 
Three eminent Canadian litterateurs were named judges, 
with Lord Dufferin as final arbiter. Over seven hundred 
" songs " were sent in, and the judges selected ten for sub- 
mission to Lord Dufferin for final decision. The poem, " A 
Song of Empire," was one of the ten. 

p. 213. 

5 Lines written on the wreck of the Scotsman in the Gulf 
in 1899. 

p. 215. 

6 The Canadian Song Sparrow is locally known among 
the folk in the Laurentian Lake District about Labelle, 
north of Montreal, by the name here given. Struck with 
the quaint fitness of the words to the tones and metrical 
accents of the bird's notes, the writer ventured to add an 
interpretation of his own to those already penned. 



p. 216. 

7 L' Amour. 

(Anon., 18**.) 

Dis moi, mon coeur, mon cceur de flammes, 
Qu'est ce qu'amour, ce mot charmant? 

C'est un pensee et deux ames, 

Deux coeurs qui n'ont qu'un battement. 

Dis d'ou vient qu'amour nous visite? 

I/amour est la, car il est la ! 
Dis d'ou vient done qu'amour nous quitte? 

Ce n'est pas 1'amour, s'il s'en va! 



NOTES 225 

Dis quel est Tamour veritable? 

Celui qui respire en autrui ; 
Et 1'amour le plus indomptable ? 

Celui que fait le moins de bruit. 

Comment accroit-il sa richesse? 

C'est en donnant a chaque pas ; 
Et comment parle son ivresse? 

L'amour aime il ne parle pas! 



p. 219. 

8 Written for the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association 
Glee Club, and sung by them in repertoire. 




9 -